Pears are just beginning to come in from the fields now in China. Last year’s crop was severely damaged by hail shortly after the bud set, reducing the yield significantly. So far, this growing season has been very good and a normal yield is expected. Prices have not yet reflected the better supply this year over last, as the pipeline has been empty for some months. It will be some time before we may see prices more in line with a better supply.
Peaches from China are almost all out of the fields now, and in cans. The unofficial yield was better than last year. The early varieties harvested are most similar in quality to California Yellow Clings. The sizing this season however is smaller than normal, which will result in smaller sized Slices. Dices will not be affected as much. Due to the good yield this season, raw material is lower priced, but the cost of labor and tin plate is up, with the net effect being slightly lower prices this year over last.
Overall supply has been adequate from South America. Much of the raw material used is landed in Arica, Chile, the very northern area of Chile, on the border of Peru. Pricing has been stable over the past year or so.
There are unsubstantiated reports of raw material shortages in Morocco, a major source of supply of Anchovies. If proven, this will certainly put pressure on the South American availability and pricing. It is our opinion that the fish from South American Pacific are slightly larger and give a better appearance vs the Moroccan fish; that product is commonly imported from China, and processed in Morocco.
The entire market has been turbulent these past few months. We have seen the market for light meat Skipjack take a steady decline in price due to very low demand. The market hit what appears to be the bottom and has begun moving up.
Albacore raw material has been very short in supply through the Spring, typically the better fishing season. Prices have risen steadily and raw material is not always available on demand. For those that buy Albacore by the container load, it is best you plan further ahead.
Ramadan, the Muslim holy month, began June 28th. Typically, factories in Muslim countries work on a limited schedule during Ramadan. This is affecting production of Albacore in Indonesia, a major source.
Typically, the Fall is a hectic time for tuna factories for end of the year shipments so we are anticipating a firm trend in tuna pricing through the end of the year.
As reported last year, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 “The Year of the Quinoa”, stating that the extraordinary super grain could have a significant impact on the anti-hunger fight.
Unfortunately that fight is far from over. Quinoa, however, has grown immensely in popularity on restaurant menus and in home-cooked recipes in the Western world. Superfoods have increased in demand, altering eating habits and shaking up the food industry over the past decade. The nutritional benefits of quinoa way surpass those of any other grain we eat: it’s high in protein, antioxidants, fiber, iron, Omega 3’s, etc., plus it gets a tremendous boost from a growing demand for gluten-free foods.
The U.S. import of quinoa increased to over 14 million pounds in 2013, from 1.6 million pounds in 2007 and in the same time period its price more than doubled, from about $3.50/lb to $7.50/lb in retail stores. This year has been challenging since the overall demand way surpassed the volume of supply from the two largest source countries, Peru and Bolivia. On top of that, large batches of quinoa were rejected entry by FDA for illegal pesticide residues. Like several other importers, we were out of stock of certain pack sizes for a while but we expect to be in stock again very soon. We only import quinoa that’s accompanied by detailed lab reports showing that it’s pesticide-free.