Berry Scarcity Pushes Up Prices

Pile of Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries

September, the season when berries – especially blueberries and raspberries – get scarce and costs begin to rise. The price for a full truckload of blueberries can approach and exceed $100,000 this time of year.

“The demand is exceeding the supply right now and it probably will for a couple of weeks,” said Thomas H., a senior logistics account executive from TQL Chicago. “It’s just the transitioning of the seasons when one growing area dries up and before another one gets into full production.

“Even when another growing area is ready, the quality can be sporadic at the beginning of the season, so prices could stay high a little longer.”

A number of factors – excessive heat in California stands high on the list – contributed to a lighter-than-usual berry harvest in North America. That’s led to the pinch waiting for Mexican and South American harvests to begin in mid-October.

“They need warm days and cool nights, and we’re not seeing the cool nights,” said Ed W., a senior LAE from TQL Erlanger. “That’s affecting the number and the quality of the berries and pushing the price up.

“The higher the price goes, the more drops we have. Growers still have to satisfy their customers, so instead taking full truck directly across country to Wal-Mart, you might have a quarter going to Wal-Mart, a quarter to Kroger and two other stops. It just makes it a little more complicated.”

TQL cut its teeth moving produce 18 years ago and fresh food remains a company staple. Helping customers navigate these types of market changes is our specialty. 

“Our experience in maintaining the cold chain from start to finish and being able to put teams on loads means we can get fruit from the west coast to the east coast quickly,” Thomas said. “That’s important, because the quality of the berries deteriorates more quickly this time of year, too. It’s a limited window.”

TQL senior operational sales specialist Jonny P. said, “We are aware of the trend and we’re always double checking load values to ensure our carriers have the proper coverage in regards to insurance.”

Interested in working with TQL on your next produce load? Contact or fill out a Full Truckload Freight Quote or LTL Freight Quote request online.

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