Big gains in fuji inventories were noted compared with last year; March 1 holdings of fujis were 9.8 million cartons, up from 5.8 million cartons the same time a year ago. Red delicious and gala holdings were also up, but not as big as fujis.
The last USDA retail price report for fruits and vegetables shows that retail promotions of fuji apples are way up compared with a year ago. The USDA reports that 4,673 retail stores were promoting fujis at an average price of $1.26 per pound on March 22. Last year at the same time, only 2,440 retail stores were promoting fujis, at an average price then of $1.20 per pound.
Exports from Washington state are also doing well, with 21.6 million boxes shipped abroad by the end of February, up 8.3% ahead of last year. Check out weekly apple shipment trends here.
Looking ahead, there is plenty of uncertainty ahead for the apple industry. The scope of future production seems daunting, particularly if a full crop in Washington is met with vigorous crops from Michigan and New York.
Not only does the size of the U.S. apple crop have the potential to grow, the number of apple varieties is also climbing.
Noted economist Desmond O’Rourke wonders if the proliferation of proprietary apple varieties – nearly every major apple marketer has a selection or two - will lead to the imposition of “slotting fees” by retailers. Are too many apple varieties vying for shelf space?
What do readers think? Check out the Fresh Produce Industry Discussion Group question about the prospect here.
Looks like Food Chemical News is getting credit for the discovering the Office of Management Budget edited versions the produce safety rule and the preventive control rule for food facilities. For the record, I saw the edited version of the food safety rule some time ago and noted it in a March 1 Fresh Talk post.