Tomato products may be in short supply next year

Another day, another dismal food forecast, this time involving California tomatoes. Growers in the state, which produces the bulk of the tomato crop used for processing in the US, are facing year four of a prolonged drought. Yields are down again, with farmers unable to plant as much land and the plants themselves producing less due to the water shortage.

“This is my crop, but it’s everybody’s food. This is your pizza sauce, ketchup, this is your salsa. This is where it all comes from, so this isn’t just my issue. This is everybody’s issue,” says farmer Bruce Rominger. The lack of rain causes tomatoes to ripen unevenly and some plants just wither and die. According to California Tomato Growers Association President Mike Montna, the last time California had a normal tomato harvest was in 2018.

Several years of reduced output coupled with increased demand from consumers during the pandemic has essentially depleted the nation’s stockpile of tomato products. US consumers may soon notice the shortages on store shelves, and can expect that the products that are available to be more expensive, due to the shortage and to increased production costs for farmers. The outlook for other countries isn’t a rosy picture either, with crop forecasts in China, Italy, and other tomato-growing regions down as well. Your pasta sauce might be getting a little more expensive.

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  • Rinshin  on  September 4, 2022

    My tomato harvest this year was lower than normal. Cooler August and uneven temperature.

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