Local grocery store chains blame cold weather for vegetable shortage, price increase

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Indianapolis grocery store chains are apologizing to customers and asking for their patience as the quality of available green vegetables has declined. They are blaming bad weather on the west coast that has also impacted the quality and the price at the register.

Many grocery stores in Indianapolis have the signs posted apologizing to customers about the quality of their green vegetables and lettuce mixes. Harsh winter weather in Arizona, parts of California and Northern Mexico have caused a shortage.

The quality of the broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, lettuce and spinach among other greens has also been impacted. That list includes the organic options as well.

“We transition normally pretty smoothly from produce sources, in one place, the next place, and so on as the seasons cycle around the planet, but in this case, it was bad timing, and we hadn’t moved to our alternate source,” said John Elliott, a Kroger spokesperson.

“About two weeks ago, the weather did a switch,” said Angela Abrams, a shopper.

Marsh has also felt the effect. The produce director gave FOX59 this reply:

“This crop damage will cause gaps in supply, increased costs and even out-of-stocks on many fresh vegetables, especially on some of your favorite packaged salads.”

He also said growers informed them that there are 10 weeks left in this growing area cycle, and they only estimate an eight week supply availability.

The expectation is an impact for at least two more weeks, but smaller grocery store chains and specialty stores, that have fewer back-up suppliers, may be impacted longer.

“The prices can go sky high in a shortage,” said Abrams, who is somewhat concerned about what could happen.

Elliott said they will be absorbing most of the price increase, but shoppers will feel an impact and not just by a few pennies. “We’ll ride out that couple of weeks disruption, and get back to normal pricing.”

Shoppers like Lea Cogan said they can handle a minor price increase. “I like my lettuce. I like my salad,” she said.

Experts also said California citrus has been spared, but grapes from Chile have not. A lack of water in Chile is being blamed for a shortage.