The Mintec price of US lettuce increased by 95% to USD 3.19/lbs in the three-week period to 23rd September, due to adverse weather conditions affecting crop yields. US lettuce prices are now at their highest level for the whole of 2020.
US iceberg lettuce supplies have been impacted by very hot weather conditions, with some areas in the Salinas Valley (California) reaching temperatures of 42 degrees for several consecutive days during the 16th- 23rd September. The heat has directly affected the cell structure of the plants, which in turn has resulted in a disease called Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV). The virus has destroyed a significant amount of acreage and accordingly led to lower yields per acre, consequently leading to lettuce shortages across the US. In addition, several heat-related issues (tip burn, fringe burn, sunscald) are also impacting the quality of the salad.
Lettuce demand continues to be robust, from both the domestic retail and foodservice businesses. Export demand from Canada, a significant importer of US lettuce, is currently firm and this is expected to create further bullish sentiment.
Considering these fundamentals, the price of US lettuce is expected to extend its upward trend for the reminder of the year.