Everything You Need To Know About The 2022 Lettuce Shortage

Back in 2020, it looked like a lettuce shortage could hit the United States at any point. According to Growing Produce, California lettuce growers faced hotter-than-average temperatures and crop diseases that led to a shortage of iceberg and romaine lettuce. These tight conditions bled into 2021. Mintec reported that lettuce saw a 67% increase in price from last year due to low supplies of the crop from California and Arizona. Poor growing conditions led to a diminished California crop. Usually, lettuce growers in Arizona start producing the vegetable in November, but due to climate change, a supply chain shortage occurred.

These variables caused uncertainty in the market, leading to some dramatic price changes, and the current market forecasts indicate that Arizona should continue to produce a diminished amount of lettuce in the near future with prices staying consistent but higher-than average. Anyone looking for quality produce in the near future may have additional issues. According to Fresh Point, iceberg, leaf, and romaine lettuce should see increased blight, delivery delays, and decreased quality due to the increasingly cold weather. These effects should carry over into 2022, making the forecast for quality lettuce appear bleaker by the day.

When will the lettuce crisis end?

The future doesn't look better in the coming year for U.S. crops. The Guardian reports that North America is facing an imminent fertilizer shortage that has the potential to completely disrupt the growing season. This issue might also stress the supply chain even further, and has the capacity to further derail the American agricultural market. With a perfect storm of shortages, poor weather, and more, expect to see tighter lettuce prices in the coming year in addition to a decrease in quality.

With any luck, America might pull through the ongoing lettuce shortage, but expect some tough times ahead. The situation will likely get worse before it gets better, so if you find a good deal on lettuce in the near future, make sure to stock up while you can. Unless conditions change, some of the same factors that affect lettuce have the potential to spill over to other produce, but don't expect prices to change too quickly. With all these factors in mind, you might have an easier time growing lettuce at home, rather than relying on the stores.