Cost of celery spikes amid juice benefit claims, poor weather conditions

In April 2018, customers could expect to pay $3.00 for a kilogram of celery

A fad diet promoting the healing properties of celery and bad weather in important growing regions have caused a spike in prices for the vegetable.

“It’s pretty clear that celery is more expensive right now than it is usually,” said Mike von Massow, an associate professor at the University of Guelph.

In April 2018, customers could expect to pay $3.00 for a kilogram of celery, according to Statistics Canada. The agency stopped tracking the price of the vegetable the following month. In the most recent years for which data is available, the price mostly hovered around the $3-mark — save for a couple spikes that pushed it upwards of $4.00.

Now, one major Canadian grocer is advertising celery stalks for $5.99 online. A two-pack of celery hearts costs $6.99, while celery root runs $11 per kilogram.

Fresh vegetables, including celery, have been seeing big price increases lately. Shoppers paid 15.5 per cent more for fresh vegetables in March 2019 than they did the previous March, according to Statistics Canada. The jumps for December, January and February were also in the double digits.

“We’re seeing shortages of celery because of weather conditions in California,” said von Massow. “That will lead to an increase in price”

Celery-producing regions of the state have seen heavy rain, he said.

The Oxnard, Calif., and Yuma, Ariz., regions produce a significant proportion of the celery Canada imports, wrote Statistics Canada spokesperson Emily Theelen, in an email.

They “have experienced unseasonably cold temperatures and heavy rainfall over the past few months,” she said.

RELATED: Hail Caesar, the Classic Cocktail

Too much rain at the wrong time can lead to problems, like diseases and quality issues, said von Massow.

It doesn’t help that celery is a small-volume crop with production only in a few places, he said, meaning it’s more susceptible to production issues impacting supply.

Compounding the weather issue is a recent rise in demand that seems to be coming from a number of social media personalities promoting the health benefits of celery juice, including self-proclaimed medical medium Anthony William, said von Massow.

William claims to have started extolling the benefits of drinking the one-ingredient juice on an empty stomach since 1975, when he was a child, according to his website. He claims the daily practice can clear skin, reduce bloating and aid weight loss, as well as heal people of different illnesses.

Von Massow stresses there is no science to suggest celery is a superfood.

The hashtag celery juice has been used more than 133,000 times on Instagram. Celery juice benefits and celery juice heals have both been used more than 10,000 times.

“That’s probably one of the reasons that we’re seeing this dramatic increase in the price of celery,” said von Massow.

“A change in demand can dramatically affect the supply and the price.”

Aleksandra Sagan, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Lantzville councillors reject tree-cutting bylaw

Members of district council say bylaw’s language too vague

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Protection from spills falls short

Letter writer can’t imagine bringing bitumen oil to our ‘salmon sea’

Pirates have a chance to win pennant

Mid Island Pirates sweep Langley Blaze, four midweek games remain

Nanaimo tubber sets all-time record at bathtub race

Justin Lofstrom completes course in fastest-ever time

Junior A Timbermen even up playoff series with defending champs

Nanaimo doubles up Coquitlam 10-5 in Game 4 of best-of-seven BCJALL semifinal

Nanaimo tubber sets all-time record at bathtub race

Justin Lofstrom completes course in fastest-ever time

Vancouver Island teens missing after vehicle found ablaze near Dease Lake, BC

RCMP say a body discovered nearby not one of the missing teens

Sailpast on Wheels Parade recognizes driving forces of Nanaimo bathtub race

Margaret Johnson and Bill McGuire honoured at 2019 event

Nanaimo-Opoly will let board game players deal Harbour City properties

Victoria’s Outset Media and Walmart Canada partner on local edition of popular game

Tribal Journeys go through Snaw-Naw-As, Snuneymuxw, Stz’uminus territory

Paddlers now in Ladysmith en route to final stop in Lummi, Wash.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Housing and opioid crises the real threats

Letter writer shocked that someone could blame vulnerable citizens for Nanaimo’s tarnished image

B.C. VIEWS: NDP pushes ahead with Crown forest redistribution

This isn’t the time for a radical Indigenous rights agenda

A year later, ceremony commemorates victims of the Danforth shooting

It’s the one-year anniversary of when a man opened fire along the bustling street before shooting and killing himself

Most Read