Blackberries in Charts: Will Mexico turn around its diminishing returns?

September 25 , 2018

In this ‘In Charts‘ series of mini-articles, Colin Fain of data visualization tool Agronometrics illustrates how the U.S. market is evolving. In each series, he will look at a different fruit commodity, focusing on a different origin or topic in each installment to see what factors are driving change.

This week I am covering blackberries from Mexico, the U.S. market’s largest supplier. This article follows on from an article I wrote back in week 27, which you can see here: Blackberries in Charts: Strategic growth leads to more stable pricing.

With 75% of the market in the 2017-2018 season – a number that has not budged since 2010-2011 – it’s hard to argue that Mexico isn’t the king of blackberries.

US Blackberry Movements by Origin

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)

Reaching above-average pricing right at the beginning of the season, Mexico has been able to hold relatively steady and attractive pricing throughout its campaign. However, as a general sign that fruit production is outstripping demand, the weighted average price has dropped every single season year since 2010-2011, save one. This trend has brought the price down from a yearly average of US$13.00 per box to US$9.26 last year, the lowest observed yet.

Blackberry Historic Monthly Shipping Point Prices for Mexico

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)

Given the steady trends we see there are only two ways for Mexican producers to continue to see the same rate of growth they have been enjoying for so long. The first is pretty traditional – increasing the efficiency of production. There are a million ways of doing that, but the bottom line is the same: produce more fruit for less money in order to maintain profit margins.

The other is a much more daring and bold idea, which few other categories have really exploited to its potential. As I step up onto my tiny little pedestal, my call to action would be to create demand by investing in marketing. Fortunately, we see Driscoll’s starting to go in the right direction. However, I feel like much more could be done. My go-to example is avocados, where producers have come together investing millions of dollars in ads, creating a level of awareness that was hitherto unknown. As a result, avocados have seen a growth rate in the last eight years that I would have not thought possible.

I’ll leave you guys with a final chart of Mexico’s historic volumes, just because I think it’s pretty and gives a great picture of the country’s seasonality.

Blackberry Historic Monthly Movements from Mexico

(Source: USDA Market News via Agronometrics)

In our ‘In Charts’ series, we work to tell some of the stories that are moving the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

Agronometrics is a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that you depend on. We strive to help farmers, shippers, buyers, sellers, movers and shakers get an objective point of view on the markets to help them make informed strategic decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at www.agronometrics.com where you can easily recreate these same graphs, or explore the other 20 fruits we currently track, creating your own reports automatically updated with the latest data daily.

To welcome blackberry professionals to the service we want to offer a 5% discount off your first month or year with the following coupon code: BLACKBERRIES

The code will only be good till the 9th of October, so visit us today.

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