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Sunday, December 4, 2022

Pricy lettuce just the tip of the iceberg for Alberta consumers

Lettuce is the latest item to go up in price. The cost of the produce staple has doubled for some Alberta vendors, forcing them to use alternative leafy greens and that pricy increase is just the tip of the iceberg.

The cost for lettuce is leaving a wilted taste in the mouth of Carbivore Subs owner and chef Ear Briones.

“We saw the price and we were like ‘oh my God,’” Briones said.

“It’s usually two dollars a head, usually three — I’ve seen maybe like four. It’s gone up to like five or six at this point, which I know doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you take that into account like a case size, that becomes almost $160 for a case,” Briones said.

It forced Briones to find a leafy alternative for his subs. Now he’ll be using arugula.

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“Arugula apparently seems to be the more affordable but also crowd pleasing option,” Briones said.

READ MORE: Lettuce shortage, price hikes force some restaurants to scrap greens from menus

“We’ve seen rolling shortages of various products during the past few years due to a range of issues including supply chain challenges, labour shortages and inclement weather,” said Michelle Wasylyshen, the national spokeswoman for the Retail Council of Canada in a statement to Global News.

“At the present time, grocers across North America are experiencing lettuce shortages due to unfavourable growing conditions in California and this is reflected (in) prices that consumers might currently see on store shelves,” Wasylyshen stated. “Grocers continue to secure shipments of lettuce from alternate suppliers and we expect that both the price and supply of lettuce will normalize in the coming weeks. We apologize to consumers for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience.”

Micky Tkac, the senior director of procurement at SPUD.ca said they have been turning to local Alberta growers like Inspired Greens for their greens.

Read more:

‘Everyone’s nervous,’ as Canada faces hot inflation, rising rates: experts

“We do have a great alternative, which are greenhouse grown lettuces — they’re (Inspired Greens) actually grown in Lethbridge,” Tkac said

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Tkac is also seeing other go-to vegetables going up in price.

“Broccoli and cauliflower are also seeing record-high pricing,” Tkac said. “Usually we might be sort of seeing prices in the range of you know $32 to $60 or $70 but what we’re seeing now is $120, $150.”

Not only are consumers paying more for these veggies, but now they’re harder to find and poorer quality.

“If I’m paying $10 a head for cauliflower, I want it to be really good quality but they’re basically just picking whatever is decent enough in the in the fields to pick,” Tkac said.

For now, to make sure you get your veggies in your diet, buying frozen is encouraged until costs come down.

&copy 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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