Reports: Industry Comments on Rising Cauliflower Prices; Ray Cunanan, Shane Flynn, Brian Peixoto, Crystal Chavez, and Wyatt Maker Share
UNITED STATES & MEXICO - The USDA recently reported, as of January 14, 2022, that the prices of both conventional and organic cauliflower were on the rise. As noted by the organization, conventional prices ranged from $28.95 – $36.55, while organics showed an even larger rise, falling between $34.95–$40.95. To find out more about these pricing spikes, I got in touch with several industry names who provided insights on the market.
“The early season saw warm temperatures with some light rain, which brought cauliflower acreage forward,” explains Ray Cunanan, Sales Executive and Commodity Manager for Pacific International Marketing. “Supplies were heavy as we harvested and came well before scheduled harvest dates. However, as normal winter temperatures set in, the crops slowed down leaving us with short supplies and strong markets.”
Giving an organic perspective from Pacific is Shane Flynn, Sales Executive and Commodity Manager, who echoes Ray’s insights, sharing that this trend could linger on.
“The last two weeks we’ve had a cold snap that has slowed growth of organic cauliflower the Santa Maria, California, and Yuma, Arizona, regions,” he says. “There is a possibility this will continue into next week, as well. Due to these patterns, the current market on organic cauliflower 12ct is falling from $38–$40.”
Wyatt Maker, Commodity Account Manager, Ocean Mist® Farms, also took the time to provide some valuable knowledge about this price increase. Like others throughout the category, Wyatt notes the shift in temperatures that has caused a shortage of supplies.
“We started the desert growing season with extremely warm temperatures for the first several weeks that pushed product three weeks ahead of schedule. This resulted in an abundance of cauliflower with low markets,” he comments. “Then, we were hit with heavy frost and cold temperatures for a few weeks, which has created a major supply gap for the past two weeks.”
One common thread woven between all of these industry names is the lag in supply, causing demand to outpace what growers are able to currently provide. Although harvesting continues, the cold weather has hampered the process, which has spurred these shortages.
This idea is also shared by Crystal Chavez, Gold Coast Packing’s Marketing Coordinator, who discusses the impact of the timing of this overarching cold weather front.
“Cauliflower pricing is higher than usual. There is currently not enough product to meet the demand, and production has slowed because of cold temperatures. All growing regions from Mexico to Yuma, Arizona, and here in Santa Maria, California, have been experiencing colder weather,” she imparts. “We usually have some cold spikes in January which can push the market out of balance. It’s not unusual for the cauliflower market to be impacted in the winter months, generally in November or December. However, this year we are seeing the cold spike later, which is causing this elevated pricing.”
Keeping his sentiment short and to the point, Brian Peixoto, Sales Manager for Lakeside Organic Gardens, emphasizes the scarcity of supply across the board.
"I’m hearing organic cauliflower prices hitting as high as $45, if anyone has any—it’s virtually nonexistent," he adds, reverberating what others in the industry are experiencing.
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