“Demand for our Tanimura & Antle Artisan sweet red onions has never been stronger,” said Anthony Mazzuca, onion commodity manager for Salinas, Calif.-based Tanimura & Antle.
Mazzuca said demand is especially high with consumers as opposed to chefs.
“Our strongest business growth for Artisan sweet red onions remains on the retail side of the business,” he said in an e-mail.
Chris Cramer, professor of horticulture at New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, said the demand for new red onion varieties is also increasing.
He’s noticed the red category seems to be stealing some interest from the white onion category.
“The demand for reds in going up, probably at the expense of whites,” Cramer said.
Cramer said there is a new red onion cultivar that should have seed available for fall 2015.
NuMex Grandeur is a spring-sown variety that has high yields and a good dark red color to it, according to Cramer.
“It will take a couple of years to be available in commercial markets but we’re working on increasing production,” he said.
A fall-sown cultivar is also in the works, according to Cramer, and might be available in the next five years.
Overall, the drive for new varieties tends to fall heavily on reds, particularly spring-sown varieties.
“It would be nice to have more options for reds in both the fall and the spring, but we’re particularly more limited in the spring,” Cramer said.