US(CA): Smaller size makes for sweeter Brussels sprout

The volume of Brussels sprouts from California has been good this season on the back of added acreage. But even with more product available, prices have been high because of strong demand.

“I would say volume is about 25 percent ahead of last year's volume,” said Steve Bontadelli with Pfyffer Associates. “Yields are down and sizing is small, but that's not necessarily a bad thing for consumers because the smaller sizes tend to be the sweetest.” In spite of more volume this season, prices have been very impressive. On November 19, prices for a 25-pound carton of medium sprouts from California were between $38.00 and $42.55. Bontadelli believes the strong market is due to a surge in demand.

“We used to always have a slack period in September and October when we had more product than we knew what to do with,” he said. “But now we have constant demand. I think it's the acceptance of the product as a regular part of the diet instead of it being a seasonal vegetable.” On top of that overall increase in demand, a seasonal spike has also contributed to a strong market.

“We could have a dip after Thanksgiving, but we're at such historic levels now that it's hard to predict,” said Bontadelli. “There's a gap in vegetable production between the coast and the desert, so that sometimes pushes our product more because people want to fill the trucks with something. Then we have Christmas around the corner when the demand pull is even stronger. So I wouldn't be surprised if the market takes a dip, but I can see it bounce back up.”

For more information:
Steve Bontadelli
Pfyffer Associates
+1 831 423 8472

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