Fresh produce distribution ended 2020 with a tricky month of December according to weekly market reports by National Produce Consultants. The fresh produce industry was tasked with preparing for the holiday season in December after coming off the Thanksgiving demand in November. This particular time of the year, with lots of high demand products, resulted in 16 fresh produce items on alert throughout the month.
Weather and transition issues were the primary causes for these alerts as many wet vegetables have been suffering from unfavorable weather conditions. This is especially true for countries in Central America as both Guatemala and Honduras were hit with two tropical storms back to back in the middle of December. This affected both countries severely in the production of cantaloupe and honeydew. Additionally, Mexico and Ecuador both suffered from hurricane damage hindering the production of bananas in the region.
On the other hand, transition issues impacted lettuces at the beginning of December. But as new crops are in full swing, lettuces are finally seeing a break after a few troublesome months. Other fresh produce items affected by transition included curly parsley, cauliflower, and broccoli, with parsley being the most severe out of the three.
Fresh Produce Watch
Items Affected By Weather
Green Beans – Cantaloupe – Honeydew – Corn – Bananas – Tomatoes – Summer Squash – Strawberries – Eggplant
Items Affected By Transition
Curly Parsley – Cauliflower – Romaine – Broccoli – Iceberg – Green Leaf
Other Distribution Issues
To view the full reports click here.
What to Expect At Your Local Fresh Produce in January
Jumping the last holiday season hurdle will have a big impact on the fresh produce industry coming into the new year. With the high demand season coming to an end, many markets will see a decrease.
While transition periods are over for lettuces and the domestic season for citrus is in full swing, there are still quite a few issues when it comes to wet vegetables. With unfavorable weather on the East Coast the past few months and the pull from Thanksgiving, corn and green beans might be slow to recover. Additionally the production of cantaloupe, honeydew, and bananas will heavily depend on how fast Central American countries recover from the tropical storms and hurricanes.
On the other hand, growing regions in Arizona and California are enjoying good conditions helping offset the problems of rain, wind, and freezes in the East Coast. Citrus season is off to a bright start as more Washington area oranges have come into the market starting in mid-to-late December.
Finally, with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise, many states are implementing new regulations on states, which is impacting the food distribution industry. It is important to stay aware of local and state regulations as well as plan orders accordingly and ahead of time as trucking was also an issue during the month of December.
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