In the past weeks, a significant increase in the prices of vegetables has been observed and it has caused sticker shock at how high the prices have become. Farmers and grocery owners attribute the price increase of fresh produce to the cold weather that the Southern part of the United States, as well as Mexico, has been experiencing.
The Department of Commerce has reported that cold weather has been causing fruits and vegetables to be frostbitten and become damaged goods. The farmers had to increase the prices of the produce that they saved in order to keep their businesses solvent.
Farmers, grocery owners and analysts reassure shoppers that this high pricing of produce is about to change. Growers who planted after winter are expecting to harvest their goods soon and will be distributing to grocers at the soonest possible time. Analyst, Jody Shee, who works for Mintel (a firm focused on market research), stated that if there are no further weather problems, the prices of produce should drop before much longer. Shee also said that grocers normally switch to shopping for produce that is planted for spring, so this should help resolve the concern of increased vegetable prices.
Although farmers have been increasing their prices, this does not mean that they are earning higher profits. Most have just been able to make up for the profit loss that was due to the winter damaged products.
The Hy-Vee Supermarkets of Iowa are already lowering the prices for their broccoli, lettuce and other produce. However, prices of cucumber and tomatoes could stay high for another month as these products were brought from Mexico, which was severely hit by the cold weather.