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Fried de Schouwer:

"Strong demand for Central Mexico greenhouse tomatoes"

After a year marked by depressed prices, greenhouse tomato importers are seeing increased demand and healthier pricing thanks to supply shortages on field tomato product. 

“We have a short supply situation in the overall tomato category,” says Fried De Schouwer of Greenhouse Produce Company, an importer based out of Vero Beach, FL. 

However, De Schouwer’s company sources its tomatoes primarily from central and north Mexico, a region that’s been largely unaffected by adverse growing conditions this season. Says De Schouwer, “Production – at least from the central part of Mexico – those areas are all pretty much on schedule [and] producing as they should.”

Demand, prices climb for greenhouse product
De Schouwer says that depressed production of North American field tomatoes in the past month, particularly in Florida and Western Mexico, has been largely responsible for the shortage of supply. As a result, demand has shifted heavily in favor of greenhouse product. 

“Greenhouse products – both tomatoes and bell peppers – are enjoying the increased demand that has shifted from field product to alternative sources,” De Schouwer explains. “The consistency of these products is helping them reach consumers.”

De Schouwer adds that the supply shortage has seen prices spike across the tomato category. “Prices continue to climb,” he says, noting that prices for on the vine tomatoes have reached $15.00 FOB for 11 lb. containers, while grape tomato prices have risen to $16.00 FOB for 8 lb. units. 

Strong market welcome after weak 2015
De Schouwer says that the strong market has been a welcome change for importers after a 2015 season marked by excess supply and low prices. “We’ve just gone through a six to nine month period where prices were depressed.” De Schouwer says that increased production capacity by greenhouse growers contributed to this problem, as did competition between Canadian and Mexican growers and the ongoing battle for retail market share between open field and protected culture products. 

For now, however, suppliers sourcing out of central Mexico are happy with market conditions. “Only in the last month… have we seen a recapture of healthy margins for growers,” De Schouwer says.

For more information:
Fried De Schouwer
Greenhouse Produce Company
Tel: +1 (772) 492-1492
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