U.S. Marketing Services launches partnership with Agroreports

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U.S. Marketing Services launches partnership with Agroreports

California-based U.S. Marketing Services aims to expand its horizons for clients via a new partnership with Agroreports in Chile, which is owned by the parent company of www.freshfruitportal.com. shutterstock_62441518 sq

U.S. Marketing Services owner Mike Gretz, whose company has been analyzing markets for 15 years, says his existing U.S. Retail Prices section that www.freshfruitportal.com publishes each week is a "honed down" version of the customized reports on offer through Agroreports.

"We have worked with North and South American growers and marketing organizations in the past, and we will continue to do that, but this new partnership will give us an opportunity to reach more people in the Americas, and potentially even further afield in places like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, or wherever people want detailed information about the market," Gretz says.

"We have auditors in 40 U.S. and four Canadian markets, each one with a different assignment depending on what the grower wants - typically they're in the stores on what we call the "best food day" which is usually Wednesday, they fax or email us their findings, and we crank out these reports from around the country.

"They're getting relatively fresh, accurate, fast data, because they’re in the stores on Wednesday or Thursday, and you’re getting the report just a few days later, telling you who the brands are, who was the competition, how much shelf space do they have, whether they were on promotion, what commodities were available, and so on."

He added the report assignments were flexible, depending on when growers wanted information and where they wanted to sell.

"If you don't want New York, you don't buy New York. If you don’t want the winter season, you don’t have to buy the winter season.

"Because we've been doing this for so long, if someone would come up and say, ‘what's the overall retail trend on carrots for the last five years?' we can plot that out and use historical data."

Agroreports product manager Andrés Silva says the goal of his business is to connect researchers and consultants with horticultural businesspeople and growers. He expects the recent agreement will bring great utility to customers through personalized service.

"Our clients were yearning to form reports according to their specific needs, and we have achieved this with U.S. Marketing Services. For the first time, businesspeople and farmers in Latin America and other parts of the world can understand diverse variables  about products of interest in United States and Canadian retailers, and with that we hope they can undertake more and better business," he says.

"The new service we will provide together with U.S. Marketing Services will give information that can not be found directly on the internet. Basically, when the service is requested, what you do is hire an audit on-site, so the information is exclusive and unique.

"Undoubtedly we are in the information age. There are various ways and source from which we can find what we're looking for, but a lot of the time data is found that is not easily transformed into information for decision making. That's why at Agroreports we aim to deliver data that has been released by industry experts, which we hope will be a fundamental tool in production and market decisions."

He said negotiations began in November last year and a deal was quickly finalized on Jan. 8.

Current market trends

In terms of issues in the U.S. market, Gretz highlights that new United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) fumigation requirements for Chilean blueberries have led to a shortage, and prompted a longer extension of the Argentine season.

"There's just less product available and I think retailers are tending to focus on other berries, whether it's blackberries or raspberries," he said.

"The retail prices as of now for Chilean grapes are pretty much in line with last year - these prices for 2014 can be expected to increase dramatically as supplies from the Chilean port dry up or become non-existent.  Grapes from California tend to have long-term storage issues and Mexican grapes won't be here until the Easter season.

"Moving forward, we can expect price increases on most or all of the Chilean fruit as supplies tighten. With the fruit backed up at the port, once the strike is settled, we may expect cheap fruit as oversupply will lead to a 'fire sale' with growers needing to move fruit. Quantities of Chilean stonefruit seem to be low in most markets as well."

He added that recent cold weather in the U.S. also led to consumption difficulties and logistical setbacks, with some produce items unable to move due to snow blocking thoroughfares.

Photo: www.shutterstock.com



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