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Why lettuce prices are rising in Canada


Canadians may notice a lack of leafy greens at grocery stores and restaurants, as lettuce prices spike and shortages loom.

Rich Donsky, co-founder of produce distribution company Mr. Produce, believes lettuce prices are headed higher.

"The availability is short," he told CTV's Your Morning on Thursday. "We're a food service distribution mainly to a lot of restaurants, hotels, school boards, and when we're expecting the product to arrive and it doesn't…These pocket shortages are a little bit frustrating."

In the latest Consumer Price Index report from Statistics Canada for the month of March, lettuce saw a 6.8 per cent reduction in price from February 2023. Year-over-year, inflation for the leafy green is at 8 per cent.

Donsky expects lettuce prices to further increase this month due to severe weather patterns in the United States.

"They had some cool and wet weather earlier in the year in the northern growing areas, and that suspended the ability to plant and get into the fields," he said. "So the plan was for the southern growing areas to go a little bit longer, and that was a problem as of last week, because they got a lot of hot weather. So they weren't able to use a lot of product that was down there."

He says the drastic changes in climate limit the ability for lettuce production and has "compounded" the problem. Donsky says spring is a "transition time" for southern States so when the weather is not ideal it can affect lettuce yields.

"It's all dependent on the weather," he said. "(If) the weather co-operates, we're going to see a little bit better pricing if it doesn't, there will be more problems."

Donsky is hopeful lettuce prices will drop off in June when Canadian farmers can start selling their products.


To hear what farmers are doing to prevent crop loss, click the video at the top of this article. Top Stories

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