“The supply of lemons is starting to dwindle which happens around this time every year,” says Allison Bennett with organic foodservice distributor Ace Natural Inc. in Long Island City, NY. “Supplies were wonderful this year. Especially after last year when there was a lemon shortage. There was a lot of rotten product so it was selling at more than $100/case. And we were making very little margin. We were just doing it to make everybody happy.”
Given the volume of lemons starting to wind down, price in turn has of course climbed up. “They were very inexpensive from January to March and then at the end of April they started to climb a little bit and they got higher in May,” says Bennett. “So we were buying them for $30/case, $20s even for Choice lemons and now next week it’ll be in the low $60s and the week after that it’ll go up to $68. By the end of summer, it’ll be $80, $90, $100.”
Demand staying high
Also pushing that price up is the constant high demand for lemons, whether it’s for juicing or for health-related reasons such as creating alkaline drinks of water and lemon.
Ace sources its lemons from the Southwest and West region—largely California and Mexico. “Very few lemons are coming out of Florida anymore,” she says.
Looking ahead, Bennett notes by early August, lemon supply will look really slim. “We might have a gap for a month before supplies start coming out of Spain at the end of summer,” she adds.
For more information:
Ace Natural Inc.
Tel: +1 (718)784-6000