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France: Winter salad prices higher than 2015

Chicory, endive and lettuce prices decreased in November, but remained above those of 2015. Chicory and frisée lettuce production should increase, whilst escarole and lettuce production is expected to decrease. 

After a difficult start to the season in September, chicory prices saw a good increase in October and November. According to Agreste, a decrease in yield and being back in demand bought prices 46% above those recorded in November 2015. The decrease in yield at the start of the season is due to using roots from last year for forcing. Due to the soil being too dry, the 2016 roots couldn’t be harvested in time for the start of the season. 

The autumn production of winter lettuce was delayed compared to 2015 and the five year average. Agreste says that “This trend should go on until the end of the season”. The phenomenon is related to the 6% decrease in acreage on a national level. Prices saw a good increase at the start of the 2016-2017 harvest and decreased in August and then November. They remain 35% above those recorded in November 2015 “which were particularly low”. 

The winter endive harvest should be the same as the 2015-2016 season, according to Agreste. This stability hides the differences between curly lettuce and escarole. Frisée lettuce production will increase by 5% whilst escarole decreases by 6%. Frisée lettuce acreage is identical to 2015, but escarole decreases by 10%. Despite a decease in prices in November, endive prices remain 6% above those recorded in 2015.

Chicory production should reach 174,000 tons (up 3% compared to 2015), and roots should decrease by 8% to 237,000 tons. Root acreage covers 8,990 hectares. 

Winter lettuce harvest is estimated to reach 299 million heads, a 6% decrease on a 4,052 hectare production acreage. 

48 million endive heads over 990 hectares are expected to be harvested over 2016-2017.

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