A current squeeze on supplies of California grapes is not stopping some retailers from making the best of the crop's good early quality.
Andronico's Market, Albany, Calif., was confident enough to offer grapes on ad last week, despite current overall tight supplies and upward pressure on prices.
Don Sorani, produce buyer for Andronico's, featured red flames at 99 cents a pound.
"The flames are eating well this season," Sorani told SN. Indeed, the red flames seem to be of better quality than the perlettes right now, he said.
While this is the first California grape promotion of the season for Andronico's, Sorani said he expects to put grapes on ad quite a few more times before the deal is over.
Grant's Supermarkets, an independent based in Glen, N.H., also featured grapes on ad last week, said Jack Medeiros, produce manager.
However, Medeiros added that his last two shipments of grapes had been from Mexico, because he was having sourcing trouble with California grapes.
Unlike other retailers contacted, Medeiros also said he was less than satisfied with the quality of the early domestic grapes. "They just don't seem to be holding up well," he said.
Some other operators are holding back on promotions until the market settles. Clark Wood, corporate produce specialist for Associated Food Stores, Salt Lake City, said prices are still too high for any advertisements.
Associated's strategy on promotions "will depend on supply," said Wood, who added he had red flames at $3.98 a pound in mid-May.
"When the price comes down, we want to be the first ones out of the chute with ads," Wood added. However, Wood didn't venture an estimate for when the wholesaler would start to offer its retailers the California grapes on ad.