Berry People's Jerald Downs Details California Strawberry Market Insights and Overall Category Strategy

Wed. June 15th, 2022 - by Anne Allen

WATSONVILLE, CA - California strawberries are a staple for any buy-side program, and I know just the right folks to loop me in on the necessary insights to market and value. Jerald Downs, President of Berry People took the time to share with me the ins and outs of the grower’s crop.

Jerald Downs, President, Berry People“Market has recently ‘hit bottom,’ post-Memorial Day, but we are expecting bounce-back by mid-June. This usually happens, as Baja and Oxnard officially bow-out, and many growers in Santa Maria and Watsonville, California, divert to process. The middle-end of June and first half of July look positive in terms of supply-demand balance and stable FOBs,” Jerald told me.

As Berry People is one of those operating out of Santa Maria and Watsonville, the grower/shipper is well-positioned to answer on impacts affecting the market.

Berry People is expecting a market bounce-back by mid-June after the Memorial Day holiday as Baja and Oxnard, California, operations finish and many growers in Santa Maria and Watsonville, California, divert to process

“Retail is trying to figure out their margin/sales balance as they deal with reduced movement in berries, with the foodservice business coming back strong. They are taking fewer print-ad positions on berries, it seems, taking margin on more price-elastic items in the department,” Jerald noted. “Consumer wallet-share for berries may also be affected, as cost of living has been on the increase, and decisions are being made on how best to budget resources. This is all effecting berry demand and pricing as well.”

He also told me that current pricing is rangy, from PAS to low-mid teens, which Jerald explained tends to be the case this time of year.

With all this information in mind, I asked Jerald how Berry People continues to bring its customers an advantageous berry program.

Berry People is continuing to draw interest and demand to the category with convenient loading and strategic promotional commitments

“For our buyers, our short-game, block-and-tackle strategy is to get our buyers quick and accurate pricing/availability information, and to ensure coverage and quality on any weekly or promotional commitments made,” Jerald remarked. “Our longer-game continues to be the rounding out of our branded four-berry offering for convenient loading and/or delivery on a year-round basis. We have made continued progress on our short-long game customer performance with a clear vision on where we need to be for our buyer clients to entrust their berry category needs to us.”

In addition to its customers, Berry People works tirelessly to provide the best services to its growers.

“We want to get them competitive returns, accurate account of sales, and timely payables, week-in-week-out,” Jerald said. “Our longer-term priority is to provide competitive returns at scale over time, and to also provide access to IP (genetics and ag tech) that enables our growers to improve quality and increase yields, and to provide them with valuable business intelligence tools in support of their daily and strategic decision-making on sales and production matters.”

As we continue to look down the road at California’s berry season, keep tuned to AndNowUKnow.

Berry People