Even compared to last year -- when rain caused major crop damage -- California raisin shipments are still down substantially to both domestic and foreign markets. California raisin exports totaled 4,932 packed tons in January, down slightly from December and down 35% compared to January of last year.
From August 1st to January 31st total shipments of California raisins totaled 97K packed tons, 33% lower than the prior year, when shipments totaled 143K. For the same time period, foreign exports have dropped off more severely (22k / 44%) than domestic shipments (24k / 26%). Japan, the top foreign market, is down (7K / 42%) from last year while other Asian markets are also down: China (2.4K / 63%), the Philippines (0.2K / 12%), Taiwan (0.9K / 40%), South Korea (0.9K / 42%) and Thailand (0.6K / 39%). In Europe, the drop-off in shipments has been even more pronounced, with the UK and Germany down by (2.9K / 81%) and (2.7K / 76%), respectively.
California packers are optimistic about the quality of their fruit versus other origins and versus last year, when rain damage while the raisins were drying caused many problems. Bulk California Thompson raisin prices have remained relatively stable and even if shipments continue to proceed at a modest pace, many packers will be reluctant to lower prices to sell the crop more quickly as California can support a larger carry-out. Many California packers carry year-round inventory to supply clients on a continuing basis. California has also never completely sold-out in one year, as is often the case in Chile and South Africa. With Asia coming back from the Lunar New Year holiday, we anticipate firming demand and elevated shipments in March. Jumbo Thompson and Medium Flame raisin prices are currently lower relative to the price of California Thompson Selects. Zante currants are in extremely tight supply globally.
We supply all major bulk California raisins including dried-on-the-vine (DOV) and tray-dried Natural Thompson Seedless Selects, Selma Petes, Flames, Goldens, and other varieties in Jumbo, Select, and Midget sizes and welcome your inquiries. We also supply Selma Pete DOV Double-Run Supreme raisins to Japan and elsewhere which are processed twice to achieve exceptionally low stem and capstem counts. We offer multiple packaging options including custom boxes with client branding, supplier branded boxes, and blank unbranded boxes.
The latest California Walnut Shipment Report confirms the extremely well-sold position of most California walnut packers.
In-shell shipments in January totaled 47MM lbs, up 113% compared to last year. December shipments of 55MM pounds were also very strong, up 54% versus the prior year. Big back-to-back shipment months for California in-shell walnuts have brought YTD shipments slightly ahead (+7%) compared to the prior year period.
The UAE is the stand-out market for growth in California walnut shipments this year so far, posting an increase of 20MM lbs or 92% over the prior year period. Jebel Ali continues to be a key destination for California tree nut products.
Turkey, the top foreign market, is up (10MM lbs / 15%) for California in-shell walnut shipments from September 1st to January 31st compared to last year. In Europe, Italy is posting modest growth (3MM / 6%) but Spain and Germany shrank by (1MM / 8%) and (2MM / 21%), respectively. Pakistan is up (11MM / 573%) due to transshipping so importers avoid India’s relatively expensive tariff on California walnuts. Together, the regional demand is still strong, with shipments to India and Pakistan up (3MM / 12%).
Unfavorable trade relations with China are clearly weighing on California in-shell walnut exports to the region. Shipments to China and Hong Kong are down severely (12MM / 66%) and shipments to Vietnam -- a known corridor to China -- are also down substantially (6MM / 35%). China and Hong Kong are now not even in the top 10 destination markets for California in-shell walnut shipments, losing the 10th place to Morocco which is showing some positive momentum (+2MM / 49%) this year.
As the strong shipments suggest, California Chandler in-shell walnut handlers are very well sold or completely sold out at this point in the season. Chandler kernel offers are also hard to find due to the strong shipments in recent months. In light of this tight supply situation for California Chandler walnuts, some handlers are offering Chandler substitutes such as Ivanhoe, Howard, or Hartleys.
We work with California’s top walnut packers to supply our customers with Jumbo and Jumbo / Large (J/L) in-shell Chandler, Howard, Hartley, Vina, Tulare, Serr and other varieties. We also provide bleached in-shell walnuts in addition to California shelled product including Chandler and non-Chandler Light Halves & Pieces (LHP) 20%, 40%, 80% and higher based on customer requirements. We also supply Combo Halves and Pieces (CHP).
The January Almond Industry Position Report shows another strong year in almond shipments. Carry-in is down 10% vs. this time last year with total shipments lagging a mere 1.23% vs prior year. The 2018 / 2019 crop looks like it will be of similar size to the 2017 / 2018 crop with slightly less total supply than last year due in part to this 10% reduction in carry-in. Due to the strong shipments this year, prices for most almond varieties have remained stable and have been rising in recent weeks as supply tightens heading into the post Lunar New Year shipment period.
Europe (Western & Eastern) along with the Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries and India make up the largest total export markets for California almonds with shipments remaining strong year-over-year. Even so, there was some uncertainty through the harvest due to the various trade war and tariff spats between the US and many of its largest export markets. This uncertainty caused some handlers to open with lower prices than in previous years, although strong shipments have since buoyed prices and confidence.
Many of California’s largest handlers and suppliers will be negotiating forward contracts for the remaining crop as well as potential commitments for next year’s first shipments this week at Dubai’s Gulf Food Show (Feb. 17 - 21).
Our most popular almond varieties are Nonpareil, Independence, Butte/Padre, and Carmel types with the most popular grades of Supreme, Extra, Standard 5%, and more.
Conventional Sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberry (SDC) prices remain at high levels. There remains availability of sliced SDCs both for prompt shipment and forward contracts. Conventional Whole SDCs are in demand and in short supply. We expect high prices will continue as production of whole SDCs is a much more difficult process than sliced SDCs. Not all producers have the capability to produce whole SDCs and there remains a limit on total availability of whole SDCs each year.
The global SDC market continues to grow, and with it the industry has been introducing more diverse and health conscious options. Conventional sliced SDCs are the most widely consumed variety of SDCs, while other options are Organic SDCs and fructose sweetened SDCs. Among the increasingly available alternatives for sweetening cranberries are pineapple juice concentrate (PJC) and apple juice concentrate (AJC) for infusing fructose into Sweetened Dried Cranberries. Both fructose sweetened products and Organic SDCs are gaining in popularity in the USA and Europe. Cranberry producers are addressing this growing global demand with these more natural fructose sweeteners as a healthier alternative to foods which are sweetened with sucrose, or refined sugar syrup. Prices for AJC or PJC Sweetened Dried Cranberries are higher on average than prices for conventional sugar-sweetened cranberries.
We supply Conventional and Organic Whole or Sliced Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) packed in bulk cases as well as Organic Apple Juice Sweetened varieties. We also work with quarter inch diced and other diced cranberry products available as per client requirement. In addition, we supply 50 Brix and 65 Brix cranberry concentrate shipped in bulk 55 gallon drums.
We work with a number of other products so please reach out if you have an inquiry for something you do not see here. We are experts in sourcing bulk food ingredients and welcome the opportunity to work with you on your inquiries. Some of our other product offerings include sunflower seeds, lentils, green peas, freeze dried fruits, popcorn, dried cherries, dried apples, dried blueberries, cherry concentrate, quinoa, dried honey dates, dried cherry tomatoes, dried gojis, dried kiwis, dried strawberries, chickpeas, chia seeds, dried mulberries, almonds, macadamias, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, pine nuts, pecans, brazil nuts, pumpkin seed kernels, melon kernels, hazelnuts, dried prunes, golden raisins, sultanas, dried apricots, sweet apricot kernels, dried black currants, dried figs, dried dates, popcorns, maraschino cherries, dried tomatoes, strawberry pie filling, blueberry pie filling, cherry pie filling, dried mangoes, dried gingers, dried pineapple, and desiccated coconut.
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