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Changes to consumer behaviors due to COVID-19 are impacting almost every sector of trade around the world and fresh produce is no exception. With a difficult cherry season on the books, apple suppliers are watching carefully to see where their season will wind up. Normally, in a year not fraught with change and isolation, apple orchards see one-third of their crop exported overseas, but currently estimate are generously expecting only around 26% to leave the country.

If the export market doesn’t perform as hoped, the unexported apples will remain in the US and reach domestic markets, likely causing a glut of supply which will drive prices down. Because India is one of the largest buyers of U.S. exported apple crops and their markets are closed or at the very least much slower than normal due to virus concerns and safety mandates, they likely won’t be shopping for the same level of Red Delicious apples that they take on every year.

One possible bright spot for the apple market is the performance of New Zealand apples in the market, which are seeing volumes increase in 2020. As NZ is having a banner growing year with perfect conditions for harvest, their produce is selling exceptionally well as an export, and reports of a 35% increase in demand are likely just the tip of the iceberg. However, as we saw with the cherry season, even the lushest fruit won’t be sold if consumers cannot get to the store to make a purchase.

The question becomes, how do we ensure that the quality fruit survives long enough to get to markets where demand continues if purchases are slower because of virus issues keeping markets to a minimum of shoppers. With CFI, we’re using the latest, cutting-edge technology in our layered cool chain approach to shipping perishable goods. By incorporating several steps into our process to reduce, prevent, and protect from heat, apples are kept at optimum freshness through the use of cold rooms at the origin.  Apples are considered a hearty fruit and thus rarely move in a controlled atmosphere for longer distances such as India.  CFI specializes in moving apples from the cold rooms to many faraway places, such as India, Indonesia, and Singapore.    

If you’re moving fresh produce around the world, CFI has a plan to eliminate temperature excursions, mitigate early ripening, and stop waste. You can read about our layered cool chain approach for air shipments and our controlled atmosphere / chilled container shipments, and reach out to your CFI representative for more information on how to ship your apple crop so it arrives with that picked-off-the-tree-this-morning freshness.

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