Garlic supplies in North America are tight right now. There are a number of factors that have influenced this, including a reduction in acreage worldwide as well as the tariffs that the United States has imposed on Chinese garlic. Currently, the major northern hemisphere growing regions are in production, including Spain, China and California.
"Supplies of garlic are tight due to the reduction in acreage," explained Jim Provost of I Love Produce. "Compounding this situation are the tariffs and increased Customs activity on Chinese garlic imports, which make up about 50 percent of the garlic sold in the United States historically."
Jim Provost (right) said the price of Chinese garlic has risen by 20 to 30 percent in the US.
Are tariffs helping US garlic growers?
A recent news report suggested that while many fruit and vegetable growers in the United States are being negatively impacted by the China-US trade war and subsequent increased tariffs, domestic garlic farmers are seeing the opposite. The price of Chinese-grown garlic has risen substantially in the last few months. This has been noticed by garlic suppliers.
"Prices are 20 to 30 percent higher than a year ago, and demand is strong," Provost said. "There is a 25 percent tariff on Chinese garlic, which could increase to 30 percent as of October 15th. The tariff has made the price of Chinese garlic higher than normal and put it on an even keel with California garlic and imported garlic from Spain."
He added that it's not just the additional tariffs that are causing disruption to garlic imports, but also increased scrutiny at the border. "Customs is really imposing strict import requirements on garlic and giving it full attention to anti-dumping duty enforcement."
So these combined factors have made things difficult on garlic importers, with no clear resolution to the trade war on the horizon.
Isha Ghetia of I Love Produce holds an industry award for marketing excellence
Annual OctCLOVErfest kicks off
Last year, I Love Produce launched a garlic marketing campaign during the month of October. Called "OctCLOVErfest", the promotion takes advantage of the fall holiday period, with the help of in store displays and a retail tag. The campaign is also aimed at encouraging children to eat more produce.
"We have started our 2nd annual OctCLOVErfest garlic promotion and this year we are using packaging in conjunction with the PMA and Sesame Street’s Eat Brighter campaign using Sesame Street characters to promotes healthy eating with kids," Provost shared.