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Oversupply of romaine hitting the market in the USAfter a tight early fall supply of romaine hit the market, supplies are back up to healthy—if not oversupplied—levels.
“Supplies of romaine are plentiful. All the growing areas are overlapping unfortunately,” says Dan Andrews of Bakersfield, Ca.-based Dan Andrews Farms, who adds that volume is slightly up this year as well.
This comes after a hot summer and fall which prompted romaine to grow quickly, triggering some shippers to lose product and a subsequent supply gap of two to three weeks on not only romaine but other vegetables.
At the same time, Andrews characterizes demand as average for this time of year. “Most of the buyers are looking for the Thanksgiving items and romaine isn’t on the top of their list,” he says. “They need it but it isn’t the top demand item for the big Thanksgiving promotions. It’s kind of status quo and demand is slightly less than last year.”
During the gap, not surprisingly prices picked up. “When the market gets short, prices go too high,” says Andrews. And it also took some time for retailers to readjust their pricing once the new supplies of romaine arrived. Now, Andrews says pricing is at a break even to below break even level. “There are just too many areas overlapping right now so we can’t get the prices we want,” he says.
Supply to stay…for now
Looking ahead, Andrews sees the oversupply continuing to fill the market at least for another two weeks. “It’ll take until December when the weather starts cooling off and slowing down supply and the price should perk up in December,” he says. “But November will be cheap.”
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Dan Andrews Farms
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