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Price increase | A shortage of lettuce forces restaurants to remove it from the menu



The price of lettuce is skyrocketing and facing a shortage that is leading some restaurants to temporarily stop offering it on the menu.

Wholesale distributors say demand is outstripping supply for iceberg and romaine lettuce, and price pressures are expected to continue throughout the month.

Restaurants Canada Association chief operating officer Kelly Higginson says a major lettuce-growing region in California has been hit with some kind of virus, after an already rocky year due to the heat. and drought.

“This particular area has seen its crops decimated. So there is a massive shortage, ”explained Mme Higginson.

From fast-food restaurants to fine-dining establishments, “everyone is taking lettuce off the menu,” she noted.

Indeed, not only is lettuce scarce, but its price has in some cases quadrupled in price, she said.

“There is no room for these restaurants to absorb more costs…and someone will only pay a limited amount for a salad. So once the price hits a certain point, they just have to take it off the menu,” Higinson.

Fast-food chain Subway has announced lettuce is temporarily unavailable at some of its restaurants and expects supply to improve in late November.

In a Twitter post last week, the Canadian division of Swiss Chalet said that due to industry-wide shortages, its garden and Caesar salads are unavailable, and items that normally contain lettuce, such as hamburgers, will be served without lettuce at this time.

Mme Higginson said events like this have become more common in recent years, leading some restaurants to reduce their offerings or use seasonal produce to try to avoid supply impacts.

She added that if a large number of restaurateurs switch to other greens like spinach or kale, prices for those items could rise as well.

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