Supplies of coconuts are slim and will continue to be so for some time.
“There’s been a general shortage going on for quite awhile out of the Dominican Republic. This is the result of weather events that happened over the previous two years—there have been a few occasions where they’ve had heavy damage to trees and infrastructure from hurricanes and tropical storms. There’s been some flooding that has wreaked havoc on the crop and it’s why we’re where we are today,” says Alan Goldberg of A&B Tropical Produce in Miami, FL.
While coconuts generally come from the Dominican, particularly on the East Coast where product from that country is preferred, Mexico also produces coconuts. “And from the Dominican, the quality has also been affected. On top of not having enough coconuts, they really need to do a good job of sorting them,” adds Goldberg.
Strong interest in coconuts
Overall coconuts continue to be a popular fresh product as well as an ingredient in processed foods. “Coconut water is still very big. People are also becoming more and more educated about food each year and want to eat fresher and items like coconuts have a long shelf life,” he says. “You can keep it for a few weeks and it won’t go bad.”
Demand of course looks particularly strong currently due to the shortage. “There’s always good demand for coconuts in the tropical world. It goes up in the summer, but there’s good demand year-round,” says Goldberg.
Of course, prices, which have been high for five to six months now, continue to be strong and Goldberg estimates they’re approximately 25 percent higher than normal.
Looking ahead, not much relief on coconut supplies is imminent. “If the Dominican Republic gets favorable weather for the next year to a year and a half, things should level off a little bit. But it doesn’t happen overnight,” he says.