The 2023 California canning tomato price is set at $138 per ton for the conventional crop, a record 31 per cent higher than last year’s base price of $105. The California Tomato Growers Association (CTGA) announced the successful negotiations with the state’s tomato canneries. Premiums -- ranging from $3 per ton to $18 per ton for late-season crops -- are based on delivered tonnage. The remaining terms are the same as the 2022 master agreement.
The CTGA has agreed to $138.00 per ton for 2023 with:
1. Campbells Soup Company
2. ConAgra Brands, Inc.
3. Del Monte Foods, Inc.
4. Escalon Premier Brands, Inc.
5. Ingomar Packing Company
6. Los Gatos Tomato Products
7. The Morning Star Packing Company
8. San Benito Food/Tomatek
9. Stanislaus Food Product
California canning tomato acreage was reported at 229,000 in 2021 and 2022, according to the CTGA. This is the lowest acreage since 1988. Yields have declined in the past several years to an average of under 46 tons per acre last year, according to the association. This is after they peaked in 2018 at almost 51 tons.
Total production that peaked at more than 14 million tons in 2015 on 299,000 acres fell to under 11 million tons in each of the last two seasons.
“The California price sets the bar for us in Ontario,” says Ron Van Damme, vice-chair, Ontario Processing Vegetable Growers. “We are optimistic for the conclusion of negotiations here in Ontario, usually around March 1.”
The California price is a reflection of increased costs of production all over North America, not just for processing tomatoes but all processing vegetables. Part of the issue is that consumers are keeping shelf-ready products in their pantry, so demand is up, plus costs are up across the whole sector – fertilizer, fuel, labour, seed, equipment, repairs, everything that growers need to grow a crop are more expensive. These costs have to be considered in the pricing scenario for all crops.
Source: California Tomato Growers January 30, 2023 bulletin
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