Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
According to the newest reports, there are definitely some large crops of Medjool dates. There is a huge supply from all vendors at the current moment. It is mostly conventional though, so organic dates continue to trend upward. Therefore, the producers are continuing to allocate more of the fields to the organic Medjool dates.
The growers note that increased supplies are coming as producers continue to invest in bigger farms with increased plantings. They are about halfway through the harvest right now. Moreover, the harvest was a little bit later this year by a few weeks which was probably weather-related. In fact, the harvest will probably be done in the second week of October.
Within Bard Valley date growers, there are 15 growers located in either Coachella, Yuma or Northern Mexico, though most of the Mexican fruit heads offshore. There are some competing products from the Middle East and Northern African regions which are starting to supply more fruit.
Meanwhile, demand continues to grow for dates. The demand grew last year by about 12 per cent year over year. August and September are some of the slower months for Medjool date sales but I think that the percentage is already up about six per cent over last year. In fact, sales tend to start picking up around the holidays between October-December.
The demand is what looks to be a small, but growing category. There is only eight per cent household penetration so most of the marketing efforts are about educating consumers and driving trial and purchase because there is a want to move to that eight per cent upwards.
As for pricing right now on dates, there is some pressure on pricing. As with any commodity, the more supply you have, the more pricing gets compressed so it’s a little down from last year. plus we’re trying to promote more to drive trial and consumption.