Ippolito International's Bill Vargas Provides Insight on Current Lettuce Market
SALINAS, CA - The refreshing crunch of iceberg lettuce makes it a consumer favorite year-round, and as summer approaches, unique salad recipes and delicious lettuce wraps become a go-to lunch option for even more shoppers, boosting foot traffic to the category. As Ippolito International’s iceberg supplies create new opportunities in the produce aisle, I spark a conversation with Bill Vargas, Iceberg Lettuce Commodity Manager, for an inside look at the current market.
“Currently, we are fully in season with all of our production in California’s Salinas Valley,” he tells me. “Quality is outstanding and volume is abundant.”
The grower is currently reporting an excellent supply, perfect for Father’s Day and other summer promotions. Demand across the lettuce category has remained stable, providing retailers with a valuable opportunity to boost sales—if they choose to snatch it up, that is.
“Iceberg lettuce is a constant in the produce case, so much so that it might be almost too familiar, causing it to be overlooked,” Bill says. “Remember to promote it and cross-merchandise with toppings and dressings. After all, ranch dressing and bacon bits taste so much better when they’ve been put atop a slice of iceberg!”
Weather in the Salinas Valley has remained relatively cooperative, Bill mentions to me, with only a few days of cold, foggy weather delaying the harvest slightly.
"We had a few stacked days of very cool and moist weather just a few weeks ago. This slowed lettuce growth, and production and harvest got backed up. Adding to this bottleneck were the rather strong yields we’re seeing on lettuce, and as a result, there was a significant amount of lettuce acreage that was disked across the valley,” Bill said. “We are now back to normal, in full supply and experiencing normal seasonal temperatures. We expect the same weather pattern to continue for the next month or so.”
To meet the steady demand in the category, retailers and foodservice operators can focus on Ippolito’s lettuce varieties and numerous value-added offerings, not only driving consumer interest in eating lightly in the warm summer months, but also encouraging new ways to enjoy this familiar vegetable.
“Our product line is more than field packs. We’re able to load more onto trucks and are eager to share our latest value-added items with our retail partners,” Bill concludes. “We’re 100 percent committed to providing quality, supply, and service day in and day out.”
Lettuce is one product that many shoppers won’t leave the store without, so why not offer just what they’re looking for with Ippolito International’s alluring offerings?
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