How much longer will lettuce prices stay elevated?

Here are a couple of perspectives from foodservice firms who are in the business of providing market intelligence.

The Sysco market report, published Nov. 15, says this under “Lettuce-leaf alert

Volumes remain unsettled as Salinas, lCA gets ready to end for the season. Huron, CA will be winding down next week. Yuma, AZ has started, and Salinas looks to wrap up late-November. Fluctuating and active markets are expected for 3-6 weeks.


Meanwhile, Pro*Act reported Nov. 20 the outlook for leaf lettuce was strong. From the Pro*Act report:

The romaine market continues to be strong. Demand exceeds supplies. Escalated pricing is in effect on all romaine value-added items. Demand exceeds supplies on romaine hearts as well.  Low yields in the growing regions are not expected to get better until the month of December. Production in northern California is simply winding down. Weights on romaine are reported between 26-30 pounds. Defects include insect damage, mechanical, slight blister, and mildew. Green and red leaf are having the same defect issues. Supplies are light as well. Weights are reported at 17-21 pounds. Yuma has started to pick up and better supplies are expected next week.

For iceberg lettuce, Pro*Act writes:

Demand exceeds supplies for this commodity. Production in Yuma is moderate to light. Huron and Salinas are winding down production as next week may be the last production days. Santa Maria has minimal production. Common defects that have been reported upon arrivals include mechanical, epidermal peel, misshapen heads, and lightweights. Weights on wrap have been 29-34 pounds. Escalated pricing on value-added lettuce items will start up this week. Expect active markets for the next two weeks with this commodity.


Meanwhile, Markon’s Nov. 24 market report offers this on iceberg lettuce:

The market will continue to fluctuate through November. Production is being moved south to Yuma. Quality is good: epidemal peeling is a slight issue. Head weights are lower than normal.

Markon on romaine:

Prices will fluctuate through the rest of the month. West Coast growers are moving south to Yuma. Quality is good: epidermal peeling is a minor problem. 


TK: Best information from leading foodservice market-watchers is that the lettuce market isn’t expected to come down much before early to mid-December. Stay tuned...