From July 2013 to June 2014, record-breaking volumes of U.S. tomato products were shipped internationally. In the 2013/2014 marketing year, net exports reached record levels of 3.5 million fresh equivalent tons, an increase of 25% above the previous record set just the year before.
So far this year, overall demand for U.S. tomato products is still strong. Despite port delays and exchange rate challenges, this year’s export volume of tomato paste is on-track to be the second-best on record. And overall demand for domestic tomato products is running at a record-setting pace for 2014/15 marketing year. U.S. demand, from June 1, 2014 to March 1, 2015, is up 3% over the same period last year, according to the California League of Food Processors’ stock report.
Because demand is healthy, supplies are looking balanced for the 2015 season. The steady movement and sensible stock-on-hand will keep the price of tomato paste relatively stable.
But the price of tomato products is heavily influenced by the price of raw tomatoes, and that is unknown. The California Tomato Growers’ Association and processors have yet to agree to a “fair price” for raw tomatoes in 2015. Negotiations have dragged on through May. Last year, processors paid growers $83 per ton, plus late season premiums, for tomatoes in the field.