A spate of bad weather in Florida has impacted the state's crop of tomatoes, reducing the production by about 70 percent and nearly quadrupeling the price as the supply has dwindled. While some quick-service restaurant chains have been impacted, the tomato sauce supply and pricing will not be, as most of those products are sourced from California.
Domino's Pizza, for example, gets its sauce tomatoes and diced canned tomatoes for pizza toppings from California, said company spokesman Tim McIntyre. "We use very few tomatoes grown in Florida, so the freeze has no negative impact on Domino's Pizza whatsoever."
Brock Fillinger, co-founder and director of systems and supply for NAKEDpizza, said the chain has not had any major problems from the Florida freeze because it uses Roma tomatoes from Florida and Mexico for its fresh-sliced tomato topping. "We were able to make a seamless transition that didn't affect our business," he said.
Fillinger said the price of tomatoes for the New Orleans-based company has increased some "but not enough for us to consider removing the topping."
Reggie Brown, executive vice president of Florida Tomato Growers Exchange, told the Wall Street Journal that the price of tomatoes has almost quadrupled over this time last year, with a 25-pound box of tomatoes trading for $30 vs. $6.45 a year ago. Prices should fall by next month once crops in the southern portion of the state are harvested. The price of tomato-derived products should not be impacted, since California is the main producer for those products.
Christa is editor of QSRweb.com and contributes to FastCasual.com and PizzaMarketplace.com. She has experience in the restaurant industry as well as 15 years as a journalist.