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"Media not helping romaine producers to move forward"

As the Santa Maria and Salinas romaine lettuce seasons settle in for the next five months, growers are observing that persistent negative press surrounding romaine has meant the market has as yet been unable to recover from the fallout surrounding the E-Coli outbreak earlier this year. Although it has been established that the affected romaine originated in Arizona, whose season has ended, suppliers feel that with the constant media reminders, consumers are still wary of romaine and are opting to stay away.

"The market is still feeling the effects from the E-Coli outbreak earlier this year," said Kerry Adam of Adam Bros. Sales, Inc. "The constant media attention has produced an unfounded fear among consumers. As a result, people have it continually in their mind as if it were yesterday. While of course the outbreak has resulted in tragedy for a few people, we want to assure the public that it is safe to consume romaine lettuce once again."

Market much lower than normal
The California season is producing good supply and quality, thanks to mild growing conditions. Typically at this time of year, demand for romaine lettuce surges ahead of the hot summer when people look to lighter foods. However, the market remains much weaker than normal, and demand is slow.

"Supplies of romaine lettuce out of both Santa Maria and Salinas are very good and quality is also looking good," Adam observed. "The recent cooler weather has meant that everything is coming along smoothly. Demand however, is very light and the market is much lower than it should be at this time of year. Part of the reason is due to solid supplies, but really the market has not recovered since the E-Coli outbreak which has affected our bottom line. We started this year with a robust market but then it dropped to below double digits and has not risen above that level since. People will eventually come back to romaine lettuce because it is an important ingredient in salads and provides a healthy, nutritious food option."

Romaine hearts three pack bag an "excellent product"
When it comes to packaging, the three pack romaine hearts bag is now a mainstay in supermarkets. According to Adam, it is not surprising given how effective the bags are in keeping the product fresh as well as providing an ideal consumer friendly grab-and-go retail option. 

"It's an excellent pack, definitely one of the best out there in the veggie department," he said. "The romaine hearts stay fresh and last longer in the bags. The design is such that they remain protected and avoid getting damaged when in groups."

Adam Bros. Produce Sales pack their romaine lettuce as a field fresh pack, which the company says optimizes freshness. "We do the romaine hearts as a field fresh pack, meaning we pack them straight in the field," Adam shared. 

For more information:
Adam Bros. Produce Sales, Inc.
Tel: +1 (805) 343-2000

Publication date: 6/11/2018
Author: Dennis M. Rettke



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