US: Shallot market gains boost from holiday season

With Thanksgiving and the start to the holiday season fast approaching, American shallot distributors are benefiting from increased consumer demand.

Claire Sakho of Global Bloom, LLC, a produce importer based in New York, says that shallots’ status as a speciality item creates severe peaks and valleys in the market. “It’s the holiday season, so the market is stronger,” Sakho says, explaining that as more families turn to seasonal recipes, the demand for gourmet items such as shallots drastically improves. 

Sakho says demand is generally limited as shallots are more of a “flavor enhancer” than a staple of American cuisine. That lack of versatility makes it hard to increase sales of shallots without the help of seasonal holiday demand. “It is and will always remain a niche item.”

Market slipping in recent years
Sakho says that the holiday season is particularly important this fall and winter, as the shallot market has slid in recent years. She says that Global Bloom – which sources its shallots from Holland, among other regions – has seen a slight but noticeable price decrease on 10 lb. units of shallots over the past three to five years. 

Sakho attributes this slide to increased local product availability, combined with supply overages from Holland and France. In recent years, European growers have increased acreage and plantings to ensure year-round supply. “There is a lot of pressure from the growers to move more because they have a lot of product,” she says.

Downturn expected
While sales are strong now, Sakho expects the market to flat line in the new year. “Of course, it’s going to plummet after the holidays, but, luckily, unlike other imported vegetables, we are able to import shallots year round.”

Sakho expects the demand to decrease with the new year, as with most other vegetables, causing prices to drop. “People will start to panic, and when people panic, it drives prices down,” Sakho says that she hopes other suppliers realize that, with demand steady, sellers will maintain sales volumes regardless of prices. But she adds that Global Bloom will have “no choice” except to match the price points of other high-quality shallot suppliers come January.
For more information:
Claire Sakho
Global Bloom, LLC
Tel: +1 347-926-5500

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