It wouldn’t be difficult in the current environment to think some dastardly negative thoughts – values are low, demand is inconsistent, maturity is variable and the weather is marginal.
The last few seasons of strong returns have made us somewhat removed from the cold hard reality of how to manage domestic market variations away from the standard export led routine – this season is throwing a lot of variables and we haven’t responded well as an industry.
The market has been inundated for some time with a continuous volume of small fruit, and more recently a significant supply of large and medium sizes which given their origin would have been export fruit with an Australian home that has now become domestic fire sale stock. I would imagine there are some growers aligned to certain exporters who may not be that engaged once they see what their OGR values look like. There is a difference between the odd export parcel of fruit traded domestically which is par for the course compared to volumes week after week that are not part of any domestic market flow planning.
The net result is a very split market – retail programme suppliers are holding stable values and a consistent stream of price-point/multi-buy adverts continue to drive good volumes through the chain stores. $15 to $18 tray equivalent cool-store door values on sizes 16 to 30 remain achievable – lower we would all agree than is ideal but significantly higher than the wholesale market values which are somewhere in the vicinity of $8 to $10 lower in comparison.
With New Zealand market numbers sitting close to 75,000 trays for last week there doesn’t look to be any short term change in market volume supply; we can only hope for a bit more sunshine to drive demand.
Our approach remains simple and consistent. We are in a good position with stock numbers and flow into the market is satisfactory and we are managing our date age well. Our retail partners are doing an outstanding job and we continue to suggest that any local market harvest is delayed until this difficult period clears and market conditions are more suitable for additional harvesting.
Given the recent wind related crop loss and the crop size issues, we believe the market will be short of fruit at some point and more solid returns will be back on offer.
Glen and team