A Tomato Shortage Could Make Pizza, Sauce, and Salsa More Expensive

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Because of the unfavourable weather, some Californian farmers are struggling to produce enough "ketchup" to meet consumer demand. And it's no longer a joke that Americans' favourite foods may soon be on the chopping block.

This is due to the fact that the canned tomato crop in the Golden State, which supplies popular delicacies like pizza, salsa, and pasta sauce, has been drying up amid one of the worst droughts in more than a thousand years.

Mike Montna, president of the California Tomato Growers Association, declared, "We absolutely need rain. We are approaching the point where we don't have enough inventory to keep satiating the market demand. Right now, growing a tomato crop is quite difficult.

Processing tomatoes are grown specifically in California and are used to make sauces, pastes, and soups since they are quite hardy and not very juicy, making them suitable for cooking.

The cost for growers to produce these tomatoes has skyrocketed over the past few years, leading to gradually declining yields. This is because of the present state limitations limiting groundwater as well as the high cost of labour, fuel, and fertiliser.

According to the USDA, California's processing tomato supply has substantially decreased from 14 million tonnes in 2015, when it peaked, to just 11 million tonnes in 2021. The persistent drought that the area has been suffering through has been a major contributor to the problem.

To ensure that everyone receives their full supply, there are just not enough processing tomato acres being planted this year, according to a manager of one of the largest tomato processors in the world.

Pruett said that the price of tomato paste has increased for retailers by 80% just from last year, and that those who haven't already secured their supply won't find it—no matter the price.

If staple goods like frozen pizzas, pasta sauce, and other essentials are priced to the point where the typical consumer wants to choose another option, there will inevitably come a time when that relationship will fall apart.

Although it may be debatable whether there is a viable alternative for customers to pizza and pasta. It might be harder than people think in a culture where 43% of Americans eat pie at least once a week.

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