Limes and pineapples are enjoying sales growth as retailers increase orders to meet rising consumer demand, importers say.
In late August, importers of Mexican limes were dealing with lower supplies at the end of the old crop, as well as fruit harvested during the rainy season.
Peter Leifermann, director of sales and fruit procurement for Brooks Tropicals LLC, Homestead, Fla., said he expects supplies to improve in September.
“We are getting different quality and sizes are a little limited now, but we expect quality and sizings to improve,” Leifermann said in late August. “We are looking forward to the fall, which is always a great time to promote limes. Mexico has been blessed with ideal weather going on the past four years.”
On Aug. 27, the USDA reported lime quality and condition as variable.
Southern Specialties Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla., sources limes from Guatemala throughout the year but also from Mexico through its McAllen, Texas, facility.
Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development, said demand is definitely rising.
“As a company, we see growth in the area largely due to demographics as well as people being aware of the many uses of limes,” Eagle said.
Eagle said limes are becoming more prominent in the foodservice arena, in marinades, desserts, as garnishes and in ceviche.
On Sept. 4, the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported Mexican limes crossing through Texas selling for these prices: seedless 40-pound cartons of 110s-150s, $14; 175s, $12-14; 200s, $10-12; 230s, $8 with 250s fetching $6.
The USDA reported lime quality and condition as variable.
In late August, pineapples are seeing high demand and high prices.
That’s not typical for the summer, which normally brings oversupply, said Greg Golden, sales manager and co-owner of Amazon Produce Network, Mullica Hill, N.J.
“Pineapple demand recently has been fantastic,” Golden said in late August. “As we get into the spring and summer, it’s been very strong. Normally, for this time off the year, we see some sort of an oversupply and a lack of demand, but it has been the opposite this year. It’s been really strong through the summer and prices and demand have been high.”
Golden said Costa Rican production lessens in the summer during the growth process which can produce an abundance of fruit followed by a shortage.
Costa Rican volume remains consistent, said Michael Warren, president of Central American Produce Inc., Pompano Beach, Fla.
“The pineapples have been good,” he said in late August. “It’s a steady business. “We go through a period when growers planted for uniform volume, but every year, Mother Nature will induce a few early, so we get a little influx in them and then get a small shortage before volume returns to normal.”
Warren said he expects volume to begin increasing in mid-September.
The flowering stage brings smaller supplies and a June and July gap as the new crop begins, said Adrian Capote, vice president of sales for J&C Tropicals Inc., Miami.
In late August, Capote said supplies were improving.
“Prices are coming off,” Capote said. “Prices have been as high as $14 in those months while the average price in other months is $9-10. The new crop is coming in so prices are coming off and the market will be stabilizing.”
Capote said quality is high and said retailers should expect consistent fall supplies.
In early September, the USDA reported these prices for one layer golden ripe pineapple from Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama pineapple entering south Florida ports: 5-6s, $9; 7s, $8-8.50; 8s, $7.50-8.
In Philadelphia ports, the same cartons and variety sold for $9 for 5-6s, $8-9 for 7s and $8-8.50 for 8s.
At Southern California ports, the same cartons and variety sold for $10-10.50 for 5-6s, $9.50-10 for 7s and $9 for 8s, according to the USDA.