Why the North American Salad Market is Growing

With 20,000 employees, Taylor Farms is one of the largest players in North American exports. Last month, the company announced that it was investing in a green plant with a lettuce company. Just two weeks ago, Vigro, a Canadian colleague, announced plans to build a greenhouse. According to Hurtiplan Kurt Cornellson, we can expect more from such news. I believe it points to a trend. There are many things that come together now.

Kurt observes that similar developments began in Europe 20 to 25 years ago. As a manager of sales and business development at Hortplan, a company that provides mobile barrels for growing salads on the water, he knows the market well. “Dutch and Belgian leaf crops have gradually disappeared and replaced by glass. At the same time, leafy crops are still partially open in Spain. Particularly large amounts of European winter consumption still come from Spain, as is the harvest and packaged region.

Food safety
The amazing thing about this evolution in the US is that it contains huge volumes. “And it’s an evolution that will take place in a short period of time,” says Kurt. Food safety is one of them.

He explains that food safety in Europe is often related to plant protection products and residues, but in the United States it is primarily a matter of microbiology. “Chemicals do not play that big role there. More important is the risk of food poisoning – Echoli, Salmonella, Lister. ” Growing under glass, you get a much cleaner product. There is no pollution in the sand, no foreign objects, stones or defects. They are not stray locusts or locusts. The shelf life is extremely high ”

Local production
Another important driver is the trend toward local production. “America’s First,” Kurt explains. That can be interpreted in several steps. It could be about growing up in the United States, rather than growing up in Canada or Mexico, growing up within the borders of a state and going as far as the village or town speaks. There is a farm. “

Then there are circumstances. For example, water shortages in California do not make it easy to grow there. Transportation is also a major problem in the United States today. “It’s not the main reason, but it’s part of what companies consider. Just like creating a job – if different states in the United States create jobs, they will welcome you with open arms and help make a region less dependent on imports. From vegetables. “

Extremely sexy
In general, there are many reasons why many companies invest heavily in a greenhouse garden. Greenhouse vegetables are currently the most popular among investors. A lot of money is coming into the sector and that a lot of money is going into the production of vegetable crops.

Kurt sees the emergence of small, locally-funded, but immediately available players in many states. Of all the open field companies, the relative production may be the lowest, but they are the ones that appear to be wildflowers. And so does the company. At least 15-20 states are preparing to launch salad projects. Basically, they want to look at hydroponic farming systems, such as horticulture, to produce their products safely and sustainably.

These developments have also forced large foreign companies to take over. Some choose to set up their own greenhouse, while others take over existing companies or form partnerships. I can only imagine that a company that grows in open ground would have a different logic than that that grows in a small space in a greenhouse. It may be easier to form a union than to form one. Explains.

Impact on the sector
What impact will this massive growth have on the sector? “The current players in the home salad market have been relatively small for some time. Gotham Greens, Brightferms – They started by producing hiccups near or near the cities. Over time, they have expanded. This was done in part because of the proximity of the market. You are now gradually developing that concept in other states.

The question is whether that is still the right approach for entrepreneurs. “It’s still an option if you want to start locally and deliver it to the local supermarket,” Kurt said. But we see other companies emerging in a short period of time looking to develop their facilities in different states. Then you don’t have time to build your own brand. What about the options? “Going white label to offer supermarkets, or joining big companies such as Mucci, Village Farms or Mascaternard.”

The Role of California
How long will this explosion last? Unfortunately, Kurt cannot see the future. But when you look at how much produce is coming to the United States from Canada and Mexico and how many herbs are exported from California and Arizona to the eastern states, they are talking about huge volumes. Replaced, you are already talking about big places. They’re pulling a few in the 100-acre greenhouse, ”Kurt said.

So what’s left for California? Kurt looks at Europe again. In the case of leafy vegetables, you can see here that Mursia remains as important as the European winter garden. For Rocket, Italy is still a strong player. In the United States, covered farming opportunities are at an all-time high. Market, premium class. But not everyone is going to buy an expensive, pre-packaged salad. Below that, there are still opportunities for ice cream salads to grow in California or Arizona.

At the same time, if the market continues with this large investment in the coming years, it will see more pressure on the market. “Prices are starting to fall,” he expects. “That scares people who choose less efficient technology. While this is not the cheapest method of production, we can see that straight and daylight-free farms are growing. If your system does not work then it can be difficult. But it is self-sufficient and spacious greenhouses can be seen on the outskirts of the city.

And for suppliers? Are you investing in a market where short copy is needed? Kurt doesn’t expect that. In the meantime, the next boom is already here. Or has it already started? “We are now seeing a rapid increase in the number of salad projects. At the same time, there is a lot of demand for strawberries in North America, ”says Kurt. Whether this wave is already improving or not is yet to begin. But what is certain is that this is yet to come.

For more information –
Horticulture
www.hortiplan.com
kurt.cornelissen@hortiplan.com

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