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Old 04-20-2013, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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A couple of days ago I bought some Bartlett pears from Argentina for 99 cents a pound in a major chain supermarket in the Los Angeles area. It just seems impossible to me that they could ship them all the way from Argentina and sell them for a profit at that price.

Is there someone here who understands the economics of the produce business who can explain that to me?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:42 PM
 
2,135 posts, read 3,536,383 times
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99 cents a pound...screw how they do it. Get them pears!
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Old 04-21-2013, 05:52 AM
 
Location: The Triad (NC)
26,881 posts, read 57,977,821 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
Bartlett pears from Argentina for 99 cents a pound in a major chain supermarket in the Los Angeles area. It just seems impossible to me that they could ship them all the way from Argentina and sell them for a profit at that price.

Is there someone here who understands the economics of the produce business who can explain that to me?
A swag:
The shipping company has a contact with the growers and an empty hold.
If the growers don't ship them they can't sell them at any price.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:11 AM
 
7,099 posts, read 23,911,988 times
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Pears rot.

If you had a storeroom with a lot of pears and they were beginning to rot, how would you price them. Even 10 cents a pound would be better than nothing.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:14 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Padgett2 View Post
Pears rot.

If you had a storeroom with a lot of pears and they were beginning to rot, how would you price them. Even 10 cents a pound would be better than nothing.
That makes sense, but the ones I bought were not beginning to rot. I had to wait two days for them to be ripe enough to eat.
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Old 04-21-2013, 07:26 AM
 
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Have you ever seen container ships loaded with product? Monsterous and keeping the ship filled means less cost per pound.

As others have said, produce fluctuates due to supply. Huge supply = lower prices because demand does not fluctuate as much.

Asparagus at 99 cents a pound happens only at one time a year here when the crops come in.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
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It's possible that the pears were a loss leader for the store.

However, they are shipped in full shipping containers. 8 ft by 8 ft by 40 ft long. You can fit a lot of pears in there and the shipping is about $3500 for that size container from Chile. The price per pound for shipping works out to be very low.

Labor to grow and pack the pears is not paid for at American minimum wage. Properly chilled pears will keep fresh for months, so they can come by ship in a refrigerated container and do not have to be flown.
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Old 04-21-2013, 11:42 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,022 posts, read 16,965,793 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oregonwoodsmoke View Post
It's possible that the pears were a loss leader for the store.

However, they are shipped in full shipping containers. 8 ft by 8 ft by 40 ft long. You can fit a lot of pears in there and the shipping is about $3500 for that size container from Chile. The price per pound for shipping works out to be very low.

Labor to grow and pack the pears is not paid for at American minimum wage. Properly chilled pears will keep fresh for months, so they can come by ship in a refrigerated container and do not have to be flown.
Thanks. Very interesting. I was hoping someone with insider knowledge would reply. I had assumed that the pears would go by ship and not by air, and I knew the labor on the growers' end is less than here. It seems the low price per pound for shipping is the key here.

Lesson: What appears counter-intuitive to the unitiated (me, for example) may make sense when all the facts are known.
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:47 PM
 
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$1.29 a pound here in West Palm, and you have to let them ripen fro 2-3 days.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:40 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,668 posts, read 71,638,476 times
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The actual shipping cost of any produce is actually a very tiny amount. I get potatoes here that are shipped from over a thousand miles away by truck, sometimes 2,000 miles, and they are often as low as 30 cents a pound. Once your pears are on a boat, the cost of shipping drops to almost nothing for additional miles at sea. A lot more of the cost accrues through the several different handling stages between the orchard and the checkout register at your supermarket. Think about how many times each pear was moved from one place to another, with wages paid to the workers moving it.
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