Home » Lettuce shortage pinching Winnipeggers’ pockets – Winnipeg

Lettuce shortage pinching Winnipeggers’ pockets – Winnipeg

Most stores in Winnipeg either do not have lettuce in stock or they are selling it for quite a pretty penny.

The shortage is causing people to either have to substitute the leafy green or dig deep in the bank to afford it.

The drastic change in price happened very quickly, according to Winnipeg FoodFare.

“The price was ridiculously high. We had to adjust our shelf prices and then supply issues became an issue,” said FoodFare owner, Munther Zeid.

The biggest issue seems to be with iceberg lettuce — romaine and green leaf have not been a big problem, Zeid says.

However, that was not the case for Roughage Eatery co-owner Jessie Hodel, who says she usually fills salad with romaine lettuce but on Saturday, she’s had to use leaf lettuce because romaine wasn’t available.

Story continues below advertisement

The eatery is a vegan restaurant and the shortage is another big adjustment after a pandemic that caused lockdowns and widespread supply chain disruptions.

“It’s just frustrating to have to deal with this on top of everything else, like with the inflation and everything. It’s just like it’s a constant struggle and juggling to try to make it work.”

Restaurants are having to find workarounds for the increase in lettuce prices as it is not as easy as just raising menu prices to accommodate the added costs.

“In food service, you can’t really raise menu prices. So operators are either saying to patrons, salad is not available or they actually reduce portions just to basically maintain costs at an acceptable level to protect margins,” said food chain expert Sylvain Charlebois, with Dalhousie University.

Read more:

Supply chain issues continue to plague local businesses, Manitoba advocate says

This is definitely something that is being felt by Hodel as she is trying to do what she can until the shortage is sorted.

“Trying to make it stretch, trying to make sure we use every last bit of it, and then the next week, we’re changing the menu again, as we normally do, to try to include as little lettuce as possible,” she said.

Story continues below advertisement

The shortage is being caused by California’s diseased lettuce crops as well as a dry fall that has spelled trouble for its exports to Canada, according to Charlebois.

“California’s getting drier and climate change is certainly an issue in that region. And slowly you’re seeing investors moving away from California.”

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as Charlebois anticipates the problem should be solved by the time Christmas rolls around.

“We are expecting this situation to be temporary as we typically would get leafy greens from Arizona starting in December, so if there are no recalls, and sometimes we do see recalls in December, if we don’t have any recalls, we should be okay for the holidays.”

That being said, the shortage is making some Winnipeggers lose faith and want to see more sustainable local options.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s a scary thought, but I think we just need to look at more sustainable options for us in the Prairie and not having to rely on shipping across the border,” said Hodel.

With files from Global’s Rosanna Hempel

Click to play video: 'Canadian transport minister announces steps to ease export'

Canadian transport minister announces steps to ease export

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

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment