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Romaine lettuce lovers, it might be time to find a new salad recipe. The price of the popular lettuce is up to an average of $3.47 per pound, 61 percent higher than it was one year ago. That is the steepest climb in cost for any food product being tracked by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Victor Smith of vegetable grower and distributor JV Smith Companies told Bloomberg that the reasons for the price surge include overall inflation pressures, increasing costs for fuel and fertilizer, as well as concerns related to climate change and drought – factors which could see farmers’ lettuce yields shrink in coming seasons.
Another factor cited is swings in demand for leafy greens amid the pandemic. In 2020, those salad chains that cater to office-dwellers took a hit as workers stayed home and ordered pizza instead and the overall demand for Romaine lettuce went down. Farmers pulled back on planting to avoid getting stuck with excess lettuce, but now the public seems to be back on the salad game and there isn’t enough to go around like it used to.
For us plant-eaters, that could mean a few months of higher salad prices at the supermarket or restaurants – or maybe just eating more kale