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US iceberg lettuce price reached a record high for October 2021 amid tight supply

November 2, 2021

1 mins read

The price of US iceberg lettuce rose by 56% week on week (w-o-w) on the 27th of October 2021, and by 67% year on year (y-o-y) to USD 1.19/lb. This resulted in a peak in the October average monthly price, which reached a record-high of USD 0.8/lbs. The price increase is attributed to low supply in California and Arizona, the two largest lettuce production states in the US.

In November every year, processors relocate operations from California to Arizona. In 2021, both growing regions faced unfavourable weather conditions, which has caused a supply shortage of iceberg lettuce, exerting upward pressure on prices. Entire operations are moved to ensure lettuce can be supplied all year round and can cope with the changing climates. However, during the reallocation period, there is a potential risk of supply disruptions as it is highly dependent on both regions meeting production quantities on time.

Temperatures in the Salinas Valley (key lettuce producing region) in California were below average towards the end of the season, thus leading to a 35% decline in lettuce production. As a result, the supply ran low prior to the transition of processes to Arizona, causing uncertainty in the US market. In addition, Arizona’s early-season lettuce yields are expected to decline following the below-average temperatures. A combination of the low supply towards the end of the Californian crop and a shortage at the start of the Arizonan season resulted in a substantial shortage of iceberg lettuce in the US, creating a bullish impetus in the market. According to market participants, tight supply in Arizona is likely to stay throughout Q4 2021; thus, prices are expected to remain firm.

Alice Witchalls
Alice Witchalls

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