Why is there a Romaine Lettuce Shortage (2023) – Why it Hard to Find?

Romaine Lettuce shortage

Why is there a Romaine Lettuce Shortage? The food at your preferred fast food restaurant may appear a little less green the following time you pull up. And the reason is that the scarcity of lettuce has forced many restaurants. To charge outrageously high prices for salad. That is now being transferred to consumers.

According to Business Insider, chains, including Taco Bell. Chick-fil-A and Panera have all been compelled to post warnings about the shortage on their websites. They inform customers that specific locations could not have the ingredient due to an industry shortage.

According to the outlet. A Taco Bell representative claimed that the company is receiving all of its shipments and that the warning was issued out of an “abundance of caution.”

On the other hand. A warning on the Chick-fil-A app warned that “certain menu items” might be “cooked differently.” Some eateries charge an additional fee for leafy greens. While others merely modify their menus to include wedge salads.

Chipotle said the problem does not currently impact them. While Panera and Subway, spokespeople acknowledged this. That lettuce may be “temporarily unavailable” at select locations.

Due to price increases of almost 400% since 2019. There are shortages of both romaine and iceberg lettuce. According to Restaurant Business Online, the average cost of a box of iceberg lettuce in October was $67. A substantial increase from the $14 price only a few years ago.

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Why is there a shortage of lettuce in 2023?

Romaine Lettuce shortage

Customers are noticing the effects of fast food companies: rising costs and shortage of lettuce.

Customers are informed that “Due to an industry scarcity. We may be out of this ingredient in your local restaurant” by a banner that reads “National Lettuce Shortage.” In large letters on the Taco Bell mobile app.

A Taco Bell spokeswoman told Insider that the warning was issued out of “an excess of caution.” According to the corporation, scheduled lettuce supplies to restaurants began on November 10.

Low supply and high demand for lettuce lead to increased pricing for vegetables. Early in the pandemic, lockdowns and other measures. They altered the needs for the food supply. Some farmers also rearranged fields to use less acreage for lettuce, which resulted in a lower overall output.

Illnesses then afflicted the remaining lettuce stock in the Salinas Valley of California, which produces around 70% of the lettuce consumed in the US. According to Albert, this year’s crop was severely damaged by the impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV) spread by insects. According to some producers, yield losses can reach 80%.

A lettuce shortage is hurting Winnipeg residents’ finances

Most stores in Winnipeg either don’t have any lettuce on hand or charge a hefty price. Due to the scarcity, many are forced to buy leafy greens in substitution or dig deep into their bank accounts to pay for them.

As per Winnipeg FoodFare. The sudden, significant change in price happened very rapidly. “The cost was outrageously high. As per to Munther Zeid, owner of FoodFare. Supply issues followed the need to change our shelf prices.

According to Zeid. Romaine and green leaf lettuce have not been a significant problem; iceberg lettuce appears to be the main difficulty.

Jessie Hodel, a co-owner of Roughage Eatery. Claims such were not the case on Saturday because while she often uses romaine lettuce to fill salads, she was forced to use leaf lettuce due to a lack of romaine.

The establishment serves vegan food, and the shortage is a significant adjustment. A pandemic that resulted in lockdowns and major supply chain disruptions.

“Handling this over everything else, such as dealing with inflation and everything, is frustrating. But trying to make things work feels like a daily struggle.

Since it is not as simple as simply boosting menu pricing to cover the additional costs, restaurants are forced to develop creative solutions to the rise in lettuce prices.

Restaurants are in a difficult situation due to the “ridiculous” cost of lettuce

The current lettuce scarcity is hurting cities across the country. This is merely the most recent challenge facing restaurant operators. While the cost of food has increased recently, the price of lettuce has surged, especially the cost of romaine and iceberg heads.

Supplies from California are now scarce in many areas of Canada, including the Sault. Due to drought conditions and agricultural disease. Mike Tsokas, the owner of North 82. The cost of romaine lettuce cases has tripled and is expected to stay the same for a while.

He claims that things “will never again be as bad as they were a year or two ago.” “It’s absurd to pay $170 for a case of romaine. Making a living off of it is challenging.

Tsokas claims that he has no plans to increase his rates or alter his menu, but starting the next week, salads will only be offered as a stand-alone menu item.

I am sorry to do that, but there isn’t any other option at this time, he replies. We currently need the opportunity to make a la carte payments. What can you do about it? I feel horrible for the customers.

The effects of the lettuce shortage are also being felt by Stockburger, who are making their alterations. According to a recent social media post from the restaurant, “We are going to switch to shredded lettuce as it helps us to output more from each head we utilize.”

Fans of lettuce are upset by rising prices, which force them to substitute more expensive salads.

Restaurant owners in Quebec, like Michael Ghorayeb. Believe that to stay afloat amid Canada’s skyrocketing food prices. They must either reduce serving sizes or raise menu pricing.

But Ghorayeb claimed he was obliged to choose a third alternative when he observed the latest outrageous costs for lettuce: remove it entirely off the menu.

The proprietor of Châteauguay’s BLVD & Grill on Montreal’s South Shore. Complained that the price increase was “very significant.”

Due to drought conditions and crop diseases that have disrupted supplies in California. Lettuce is in low supply and significantly more expensive than usual in several areas of Canada.

Twenty-four heads of lettuce cost about $50, according to Ghorayeb. The exact order now costs his supplier $220, more than four times as much. “For example, if you were to shave off a small amount of iceberg lettuce and add it to a burger. The cost would be close to $1 per portion.

Conclusion

Although the COVID-19 pandemic was the source of the shortage. Which is now affecting restaurants, a more recent virus, INSV. Which harmed this year’s crop and reduced availability, didn’t help.

The good news is relief is in sight as the shortfall is anticipated. To ease by January at the latest as bunches of lettuce from southern California and Arizona become accessible.

As lettuce from southern California and Arizona, less affected by illness, becomes available, experts anticipate the shortfall to lessen later in November and December or possibly as late as January.

References

  • https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ montreal/romaine-lettuce-shortage-montreal-restaurant-1.6648798
  • https://www.sootoday.com/ local-news/ridiculous-cost-lettuce-shortage-puts-restaurants-in-tough-spot-6096773
  • https://parade.com/news/ fast-food-chains-facing-lettuce-shortage
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