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US: Logistics impacting pricing on tomatoes

Supplies of tomatoes are looking healthy right now.

“It’s plentiful from all three regions—Florida, Texas from Mexico and Nogales, Ariz. from Mexico,” says Roger Riehm of Bradenton, Fl.-based Blue Creek Produce LLC. While Blue Creek sources year-round from Mexico through Texas, Nogales is just beginning shipping tomatoes while Florida is beginning its tomato season.

Meanwhile demand is relatively even as well. “Supply is meeting demand on most of it—at this time of year, people aren’t always thinking of salads and things like that with the freezing and snow. But it’s all pretty even,” adds Riehm.

That said, pricing is beginning to drop on tomatoes. “We’ve been very strong on prices over the last month and a half and Florida, some of their crop was way behind due to Hurricane Irma,” he says. “But now with supplies coming in out of Mexico, pricing is starting to get a bit weaker—it’s coming off between 10-15 percent. But I think most growers would be very happy with the prices they’re getting right now.”

Pricing pressures 
What’s adding some heat to the pricing are issues around logistics; trucking and rates that were particularly high around Christmas. “We thought the rates would get better around New Year’s and this week, but it’s costing almost double the rates. That’s causing the prices of tomatoes being delivered to be even stronger,” Riehm says. “There’s a lack of trucks and there are new regulations around hauling produce and that’s impacted a lot of that.”

As well as influencing pricing, it’s also affecting delivery time. “Now what would normally deliver in three days, with these new regulations it’s taking longer,” says Riehm. “That’s impacting all ends of the spectrum. Getting product delivered with trucks will continue to be an issue for awhile.”

For more information:
Roger Riehm
Blue Creek Produce
Ph: (630) 513-3075

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