Ippolito International's Sarah Clarke Talks Cauliflower Demand and Pricing
SALINAS, CA - The time has come—time for consumers and foodservice operators alike to center their fall dishes around the versatile veg that is cauliflower. In a recent exploration of the current market, I got a chance to talk with Sarah Clarke, Ippolito International’s Commodity Manager, Cauliflower, who detailed strong demand and exceptional quality for the grower’s cauliflower season.
“Cauliflower quality has been fantastic. We have an ideal balance of sizing, spread quite evenly between a 9 ct, 12 ct, and 16 ct, and we are meeting our planned harvest volumes, with harvest dates on track,” Sarah shares. “As an industry, cauliflower supply has been very manageable and steady as we move from the summer months into fall. Promotions have been limited as demand has been strong, with minimal surplus.”
As local growing regions in the Midwest, East Coast, and Canada prepare to wind down at the beginning of October, greater demand will be shifted back to the West Coast. Ippolito International notes that cauliflower demand has been strong, and pricing has been increasing steadily over the past week, rising to the mid twenties.
Despite California recently battling record-breaking heat waves and temperatures ranging from 90 to over 100 degrees in the Salinas Valley, this season’s cauliflower crop has fared very well, Sarah explains.
“During the beginning stages of the growth cycle, the plants developed a strong jacket which protected the cauliflower head from sunscald,” she says. “This, in turn, prevented any type of crop damage from the sun and extreme heat.”
To make the most of the retail opportunities presented by the cauliflower category, Ippolito International recommends tapping into the seasonal demand for fall comfort foods.
“We are beginning the fall season, when consumer interest turns to comfort foods. This is the season where cauliflower’s versatility shines!” Sarah exclaims. “It also plays a strong role for chefs as they work through their fall menus. Cauliflower holds a unique spot in the foodservice channel due to its carbohydrate-free application. Generally speaking, it’s a great time to take advantage of last-minute surplus offers or spot buys, especially through multiple different growing regions before fall demand kicks in and the smaller local growing regions finish for the season.”
AndNowUKnow will continue to bring you more market updates and merchandising tips, so be on the lookout for our next report!
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Ippolito International is a second-generation farming company providing year-round supplies of premium quality Queen...