Demand continues to remain strong for garlic.
The Garlic Co. is approximately 60 percent finished with its 2021 harvest.
At The Garlic Co. in Shafter, CA, it is approximately 60 percent finished with its 2021 harvest and Tiffany Manning says so far, yields are to plan.
“This time of year, we generally feel better about our supply situation. Garlic is an annual crop,” says Manning. “So, one of biggest challenges with the industry is managing supply from one crop year to the next crop year. It feels good to finally be in the new harvest.”
The Garlic Co. has a grower partner in Mexicali, Baja California though production there finished in early July. Currently it is in its California harvest though it is marketing both crops.
Along with California production, competing product is also coming from China of course. “China is always a major player,” says Manning. “Indications are that the Chinese crop also appears to be normal. But with ocean freight rates so costly, it has become a deterrent for Chinese containers presently being shipped to the U.S.”
Tiffany Manning of The Garlic Co.
Foodservice coming back
As for demand, it continues to be strong for garlic. “We are hopeful demand will remain steady. It’s been a slow process, but it appears foodservice demand is trying to get back to normal,” says Manning. “We do estimate that demand continues to gradually increase. The flavor component in ethnic cuisines, the overall health advantages of garlic and consumers tending to lean towards fresher, healthier meal options all contribute to the overall consumption of garlic.”
Foodservice demand returning is particularly welcome following 2020’s foodservice shutdowns which had The Garlic Co. concerned about that portion of its business. “At the beginning of the 2020 season, we would have estimated for there to be way too much garlic supply available. The domestic industry planted garlic in the fall of 2019 expecting “normal” demand in the 2020 summer and going forward,” she says. “With COVID-19 heightening in the 2020 spring and summer, restaurant volume was definitely down. It forced us to get creative and designate more product towards the retail and industrial arenas. We also observed a slight decrease of imports to the U.S. due to the costs of ocean freight/logistics.”
So far, yields are to plan for The Garlic Co.
Back in 2021, currently prices are up domestically out of necessity. “We are incurring cost increases across the board, from our seed cost to our finished product shipping materials,” says Manning. However grower, harvest and overall labor costs are most significantly affected. “We are making efforts to try and offset some of the increases, but some rises are inevitable.”