“The markets are so saturated, so cheap, that in a lot of places the price is below the cost of production,” Koornneef said.
The good news, said Jim Gordon, operations manager of Burlington, Ontario-based Ippolito Produce Ltd., is that the Canadian market remains strong and steady while other countries and sectors falter.
“A lot of us were thinking that sooner or later, we’re going to get hit,” Gordon said.
“I don’t think that’s happened to any great extent, but we’re still keeping our fingers crossed.”
Stephen Rodrigues, national sales manager for Global Fresh Canada, said the import-exporter’s research shows retail chain produce sales are up over last year in dollars and in volume, while sales at the Toronto food terminal are down, although not by much.
The fine weather has certainly made winter vegetables easy on the pocketbook.
“Usually in January there’s a cold snap in the U.S. that leaves product short and leads to higher prices, but not this year,” said Tony Fallico, salesman for F.G. Lister & Co. Ltd.
“We’re paying $15 instead of $40 for a case of tomatoes,” said Farley Donsky, director of sales for local restaurant supplier Mister Produce.