Lettuce Prices Likely To Remain Higher Than Average In July
CALIFORNIA, U.S. - With 4th of July right around the corner, the thoughts of most Americans are on barbeques. hot dogs, and burgers, but if industry insiders are right, the lettuce in those burgers won't come cheap. Lettuce prices rose in June to over twice their levels from last year and these higher-than-average prices could continue well into July.
Unusual weather patterns contributed to a lettuce crop this year which many growers are finding disappointing. An unseasonably dry start to the year, coupled with a recent spell of cool nights with temperatures “between 5-8 degrees cooler than their season averages...[has led to] depressed growth rates for our lettuce crops,” explained Mark McBride of Coastline Produce to AndNowUKnow.
Simply put, there is less lettuce available for sale right now than retailers and distributors are accustomed to, and this shrunken market supply has led to some massive price increases.
For example, the USDA is reporting that as of July 1st, 24s film-lined iceberg lettuce grown in California is selling for $20.35-$21.65. Last year this same product was associated with a price point of $8.50-$10.35. Romaine lettuce, also at 24s, is currently being priced at $26.00-$27.00 this July. Last year it was being priced $19.00-$20.00, $7 cheaper.
Industry members which AndNowUKnow reporters have spoken with do not expect these high lettuce prices to go away any time soon. While it is challenging to predict a specific future price point, it seems that the continued weak supply of California lettuce could hold prices at a higher-than-average price point for the next 2-3 weeks if not for the rest of July.
AndNowUKnow will be monitoring this continuing situation closely to bring you any further updates on price changes in lettuce markets.