Retail "nearing normal rates" after spike in demand, says Robinson Fresh
Fruit and vegetables have enjoyed a surge in demand in the U.S. over recent weeks amid the Covid-19 pandemic, but according to one company the that demand is now subsiding.
Robinson Fresh's president Michael Castagnetto told FreshFruitPortal.com via email on Friday that "movement is nearing normal rates as compared to the previous weeks' significant spikes in demand".
Castagnetto also mentioned that on the import side, port hours in New Jersey and Delaware on the U.S. East coast have been disrupted by a newly imposed curfew for the area.
This may interfere with the release of supply coming from Central and South America, he says.
On the other hand, Latin American countries are simultaneously enacting quarantine protocols that will have an impact on the industry's ability to source product.
Peru and Chile are notable as the former has imposed mandatory quarantine for the next two weeks and the latter recently declared a 90-day state of catastrophe. However, Robinson Fresh continues picking and packing in Chile.
On transportation, Castagnetto said that the supply of available trucks is "fairly steady". It's true that such transport has been in higher demand during Covid-19 shifts, but the representative explained that its contract carrier market remains strong.
"We've seen a slight increase in carriers throughout March. We have also seen carriers become more selective in the markets that they are willing to go to," he said.
Markets, for instance, that have shelter in place orders in effect are most impacted by drivers not wanting to service them because there exists a "lack of confidence in finding outbound freight", according to Castagnetto.
In keeping up with industry developments amid this time of global crisis, Robinson Fresh also directed attention toward the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) ongoing response efforts.
Throughout these uncertain times where the industry is facing fluctuation, the fresh produce supplier assured that it remains "fully operational".