Veg-Fresh Farms' Mark Widder Discusses COVID-19 and the Current Tomato Market
- by Chandler James
CORONA, CA - The fresh produce industry is a-buzz with solutions for meeting the unprecedented demand we have experienced as of late. With COVID-19 concerns circling, growers are analyzing the state of the market in order to formulate a new game plan. Mark Widder, General Partner at Veg-Fresh Farms, has noted significant shifts in the tomato category, with the new Tomato Suspension Agreement taking effect and, in turn, a new era for the industry taking shape.
“Demand for not just tomatoes but all produce items has been an increasingly moving target. As buyers and supply chain managers look at store and restaurant replenishment demand, they are adjusting their ordering tempo accordingly,” Mark explained. “With all things considered, demand for tomatoes has moderated from typical levels in the restaurant world. Retail was blitzed for the past 10 -12 days as stores were overrun by consumers shopping for home cleaning items, meat, and fresh produce.”
Ahead of the coronavirus crisis, Veg-Fresh reported a demand-exceeds-supply situation that was expected to trend until June as the crop transitions into Baja California. With Florida crops starting in April, Mark expects the new supply will help to relieve the market.
“Now that supply chains have recovered the retail store inventories, people have realized there will be plenty of fresh tomatoes and other items when they return to shop. This will be an Easter food shopping season like we have never seen before, with kids home from all schools and colleges. There should be good grocery store shopping demand for those cooking a nice family Easter dinner at home,” Mark noted. “Having said that, we encourage those not cooking at home to support local and national restaurants that do remain open. There are drive-thru, pickup, and delivery services like GrubHub, UberEats, Postmates, Doordash, and a multitude of other ways to support the hard-working restaurant industry as we all navigate this crisis.”
Here at AndNowUKnow, our hats are off to all industry operators working to mitigate the current supply and demand margins we are faced with. Keep checking in with us as we help bring new solutions to light.