Tanimura & Antle's Mike Antle, Church Bros.' Jason Lathos, and Ippolito's Tami Gutierrez Discuss Misconceptions in the Cauliflower Market

Thu. February 4th, 2016 - by Melissa De Leon Chavez

USA - Earlier this week, WSJ reported that shortage in cauliflower supply is "jacking up prices," with current numbers hitting $8 a head. While cauliflower is all the rage, a shortage in supply is currently not the case. As many notable publications such as the Wall Street Journal and other major media outlets look to keep up, growers want to set the record straight.

Growers tell us that select retail customers have even been running ads such as two heads for $5.00, BOGO's, and $.99 a head, promoting great deals to reengage customers to buy cauliflower.  

Mike Antle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Tanimura & Antle“Over the last few days there have been a lot of reporting in the news about the increase in consumption and popularity, as well as the ‘high price,’” Mike Antle, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer, Tanimura & Antle, tells me. “But mainstream media is missing that we have been in surplus since the first of January.”

Tanimura & Antle Cauliflower pictured at two heads  for $5 (Photo Courtesy of Mike Antle, Tanimura & Antle)

As we reported recently, the cauliflower market was tight a couple of months ago when cold weather stunted supplies, resulting in some of the highest prices industry members have seen. But once Mother Nature allowed, cauliflower came in leaps and bounds and gave retailers all the promotional volumes they could ask for.

“Right now we’re cutting three or four times normal volume, and retailers are doing a great job of promoting cauliflower and putting it back in the hands of those who normally wouldn’t be able to afford it, re-engaging consumers to take advantage of it being a great versatile product,” Mike adds.

Photo Courtesy of Mike Antle, Tanimura & Antle

The boost in demand, according to Jason Lathos, Commodity Manager for Church Brothers, can be attributed to warmer weather in the east.

“Cauliflower is one of the most weather sensitive wet veg crops. When Mother Nature increased the temps it increased supplies,” Jason says. “Unfortunately that was smack dab in the middle of the first blizzard on the east coast. Now that the weather has improved on the east coast it has also increased demand on cauliflower, so the market is starting to improve.”

Photo Courtesy of Church Brothers

When discussing some of the local and nationwide reports, Ippolito’s Vice President of Sales, Tami Gutierrez, confirmed that the market is catching up and that location can cause some delay on the reflection of that.

Tami Gutierrez, Vice President of Sales, Ippolito International“Supplies are good on cauliflower and the market pricing has leveled off,” Tami shares. “The cauliflower pipeline is full and they will see the retailers adjust soon. Some media outlets are a little behind the curve because they are based on the east coast and without a noticeable retail adjustment in their local market they are going to assume it is still very light.”

This is no longer the case—good news on the promotional front as Valentine’s Day quickly approaches.

For all the latest on core produce markets, keep checking in with AndNowUKnow.

Tanimura & Antle Church Brothers Ippolito International