Bobalu Berries' Cindy Jewell Details Spring Strawberry Market Update
OXNARD, CA - Spring equals strawberries and soon I, and many other shoppers, will be clamoring for the berry at retail. In order to make sure I had the most up-to-date info on the current strawberry market, I reached out to Bobalu Berries and spoke with Cindy Jewell.
“We are still very early in the season, but so far the plants and the fruit look great,” Cindy, who handles the Marketing for Bobalu, explained to me. “Oxnard is ramping up as the weather warms in that region with springlike conditions and Santa Maria will come into production next month thanks to mild weather. By then, we expect Mexico will have finished their season. Quality out of California is excellent with large size and firm fruit, full color, and sweet flavor. We are really pleased with how the season is kicking off this year.”
The market itself is currently tight, with strong demand surrounding Valentine’s Day driving this point home.
At this time of year, Cindy told me that pricing is typically on the higher side due to short supply and strong demand.
“It always evens out as we come into peak later this spring when more regions are producing at the same time. Our customers are excited to get strawberries on their primary displays as shoppers look for that first sign of spring in their local produce department,” Cindy noted.
To ensure that its customers have the best information on the market and quality, Bobalu spends a good amount of time forecasting on a daily and weekly basis.
“Communication is key and making sure our buyers know what is ahead helps to keep our sales strong and the cooler empty so we don’t get behind,” Cindy remarked. “We work very closely with our key trading partners on promotional programs, and continually plan ahead so we capture best sales and promotions for the consumer. Our weekly e-news also helps convey where we are in the season, what the fruit looks like today, and what we expect in weeks ahead. This communication helps to build on daily conversations being had with the sales team.”
Pleased by the strawberry crop and its flavor, Cindy reported that Bobalu is already receiving positive consumer feedback on its berries.
She did illuminate several factors affecting multiple members of the industry, and noted that buyers should be aware of this going into spring and beyond.
“It is important to reiterate that costs are a greater factor this year on the supply side. We are being faced with higher costs and tighter availability from transportation, fuel, packaging supplies, and labor, which could ultimately impact our price long-term and result in higher prices to the consumer,” she explained. “Additionally, while we are excited about our quality and flavor, we are also very focused on building on our sustainability program and telling that story as we meet with our customers this year.”
Even more news to look forward to from Bobalu. Stay tuned with us here at AndNowUKnow for the latest.