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Shortages and price hikes expected for avocados and lettuce

Get ready to pay more for iceberg lettuce, avocados and romaine hearts.

All three vegetables are facing supply issues that will lead to higher prices and possible shortages, according to the Produce Alliance.

The avocado industry has seen an “extreme supply disruption,” the alliance said in an alert Thursday. A growers strike in Mexico has brought avocado farming to a standstill. To make matters worse, suppliers in California and Peru are not equipped to make up the difference. Major heat waves in Southern California have stunted avocado production there and Peru does not have enough supply to fill the void.

Avocados see peak demand in summer. Grocery stores and restaurants are expected to see high prices and shortages over the next two months.

The Produce Alliance said it is also seeing an “escalated market” on iceberg lettuce.

“Please expect a shortage in supply and higher prices,” the alert read.

The problem is linked to recent cool weather in Northern California, where the produce is grown, and a seasonal drop in acreage.

The shortage and higher prices are expected to continue for several weeks.

There is also a continuing shortage of romaine hearts – the center leaves of romaine lettuce, the Alliance said.

“Quality is average and prices are escalated,” read a separate market alert from the group.

The Produce Alliance is a produce management group that procures and distributes fresh produce to the food service industry.