Berries are highly perishable. They need to be harvested when they are completely ripe, unlike avocado and other larger fruits, which means that farmers do not have much room for manoeuvre when it comes to scheduling harvests. With the larger fruits, if necessary, there is a small window of opportunity to sit tight and wait for prices to go up. Berries, on the other hand, must be harvested no matter what level prices are at.
Various factors affect the price of berries, and it was noteworthy that in the last week of 2021 prices of the four main berries increased by up to 50% compared to the same week in 2020. This was even more interesting considering that for a large part of 2021, prices were below 2020 prices, due to increased supply.
In week 52 of 2021, the price of standard strawberries reached 4.75 USD/kg, a 57% increase compared to the same week in 2020. In the final weeks of last year and still now strawberries sold in the USA come from California, Florida and Mexico. Supply is abundant, so there is no reason for the increase in prices.
The price of standard raspberries for week 52 of 2021 reached 6.74 USD/kg, an increase of 53% compared to the same week in 2020. This price increase benefits Mexican farmers, who are the main suppliers of strawberries to the US market during this season of the year.
The price of standard blueberries for week 52 of 2021 reached 6.91 USD/kg, an increase of 45% compared to the same week in 2020. Prices were driven up because at the end of the year supplies from Peru and Mexico had decreased. If other variables also align, a decrease in supply often means higher prices.
The price of standard blackberries for week 52 of 2021 reached 5.29 USD/kg, an increase of 54% compared to the same week in 2020. Blackberries sold in the USA during that week originated from Mexico and Central America. Rain in California in December may negatively affect internal production, in which case prices will rise further.
The prices we saw for berries at the end of 2021 were certainly very beneficial for farmers in Mexico, where winter is the main season for raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Strawberry production, however, is at its peak in May and June, which means that the 2021/2022 is heading in a favourable direction, though it remains to be seen whether prices will stay high or head down again over the first few months of 2022.
https://www.portalfruticola.com/noticias/2022/01/05/agronometrics-en-graficos-precios-de-los-berries-50-mas-altos-que-en-2020-en-ee-uu/ [agronometrics in images – prices of berries 50 higher than in 2020 in the USA]