California raisin exports have been relatively stable over the last six months, reflecting steady sales. Prices for bulk Natural Thompson Seedless (NTS) Selects has been stable and competitive with other origins, like South Africa and Chile.
The California raisin industry has been shipping 5,187 packed tons per month on average to export markets over the last six months which is 33% lower than the prior year period. Export shipments have clearly not yet recovered, in part due to weaker purchasing from key destination markets for bulk California raisins.
Japan, the U.K., Germany, China, and Taiwan experienced the largest decreases in tonnage imported over the last 6 months compared to the prior year period. The combination of higher prices and last year’s widespread crop damage may have provided a window of opportunity for other origins (Turkey) to take export market share from California raisin exporters. Since California raisin prices have softened since the harvest, many have expected exports to rebound to levels seen in prior years. However, March export shipments of NTS raisins showed a continuation -- not a recovery -- of slow California raisin shipments to export markets.
Amid trade uncertainty due to Brexit and preference for Turkish raisins, the U.K. is down 75% or 2,169 packed tons. Germany, like the UK, also faces intense cost competitiveness and sourcing has shifted to Turkey, South Africa, and Chile in recent years. The shift was likely accelerated by the widespread crop damage to the California raisin crop in 2017 / 2018. However, in March, Germany had it’s best shipment month in the past year, importing 483 packed tons of bulk Natural Seedless raisins from California. Perhaps the more competitive price levels are bringing European buyers who have been otherwise more interested in Turkish, South African, and Chilean raisins. Though Germany had strong shipments in March, over the last 6 months, total shipments have lagged the prior year by 1,885 packed tons or 53%.
China is down 49% or 1,479 packed tons, largely due to the increased tariff on California raisins which is making the product more expensive than other growing regions like Chile. Taiwan is increasing imports of California raisins but is still down 32% compared to the prior year period.
Exports of California raisins to Malaysia are accelerating. In March, Malaysia imported 299 MT of Natural Thompson Seedless raisins, it’s best month in 42 months.
In South Africa, sales have been slow in recent weeks. Since the prices from California are now at similar levels, South Africa is facing more competition in export markets to move their material. Both South Africa and Chile are facing this challenge as prices have become competitive between these origins in recent months.
In Chile, the crop is about 2 weeks late due to weather-related reasons. Early reports from the vineyards in Chile suggest that the production of Flame raisins is 30% lower than last year. Growers are changing from old varieties of fresh table grapes to new varieties and the rate of vine pull-outs is proceeding at a faster pace than previously thought.
Another challenge to the current Chilean raisin crop is that some raisin growers neglected to invest in additional inputs for their grapes in a year when such investments were even more critical due to the very high temperatures during the growing season in Chile this year. As a result, a fairly large share of the total Chilean crop -- perhaps 20% -- is of lower quality not fit for export. Buyers of Chilean raisins should be careful to deal only with reliable suppliers to receive the best quality Chilean raisins.
Production of Chilean Golden raisins is down significantly compared to last year. Ovens used to make golden raisins are reportedly operating at 40% - 50% lower capacity utilization due to weaker demand from export markets.
We supply all major bulk California, Chilean, and South African 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 U.S. China trade war is obstructing sales of California almonds to China and Hong Kong.
This year, from August 1st to March 31st, exports of California almonds to China and Hong Kong totaled 105 million, down 31% from the prior year period. Last year, China and Hong Kong represented 32% of the export market for California almonds. This year, they represent only 22% due to increased tariffs on imports of almonds from California.
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.
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).
Prices for U.S. pistachios have remained steady as consistent demand means lead times of 4 to 6 weeks currently for any new orders. Supply is available, despite the longer than normal lead times for production once a contract is signed.
We supply in-shell and kernel pistachios for all sizes, grades and styles. We also supply roasted Extra No. 1 pistachios and welcome your inquiries.
Continued limited availability of Whole Sweetened Dried Cranberries (SDCs) as well as increases in the cost of freight are continuing to support firm pricing. This year, there will be no USDA Producer Withholding so the artificial reduction in supply which we saw in the last 2 years which helped move the price up, will not be present this year. The trade war with China continues to complicate U.S. exports to mainland China with higher tariffs on U.S. origin, driving customers to seek offers for Canadian origin cranberries. Organic sales are going well and the latest organic cranberry crop is of good quality. Overall, we are seeing most cranberry business being done on a hand-to-mouth basis rather than forward contracting for multiple containers delivered over a longer timeline (6+ months). After Easter, European buyers will likely come back to the table to replenish their stocks of bulk cranberries for the remainder of the year.
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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We are always looking to grow our supplier base with companies capable of delivering high quality food ingredients at large volumes. If you are interested, please reach out and introduce yourself.