As reported in the New York Times, many factors – drought, disease, and regional violence – have made wholesale prices of limes skyrocket. I reached out to our Research & Development Chef, Jason Gould, to find out how we are dealing with the global lime shortage. Have recipes been altered? Prices been raised? Read on!
Q & A
with Cyclone Anaya’s Research & Development Chef, Jason Gould
An internationally bad lime harvest lead to a major shortage in the U.S. this year – how have we felt the affects in the kitchen?
We’re definitely feeling the effects, but we find it best to maintain consistency. We have not altered any recipes, and we have not raised our prices. We are not cutting corners because of the shortage. However, instead of assuming our guests want a lime with their beer, water, cocktail, etc – we now ask. Limes are on request.
Right now, prices are higher than they’ve ever been – have you altered recipes or prices, if not, do you have plans to?
No. We can’t – it is what it is. There is always something with a price spike, we expect this. In the food industry you have to roll with the punches.
How have you managed waste and prep levels?
Limes are never wasted – we just cut them up and use them. They are not just garnish. We mostly use the juice from the lime. When used for garnish we are more conscious of how big the slices are.
Have you educated your staff on the change in price trends? If everyone is aware of what is going on, does it help you manage costs better?
Yes, they are aware and we are definitely not over preparing anymore.
What are some of the dishes offered that use fresh lime juice?
Dressings, Ceviche, Guacamole, Key-Lime Pie, and drinks!
How is the quality of lime that you are receiving?
Unfortunately, they are smaller in size and are not yielding as much juice.
Which has felt the shortage more – the kitchen or bar?
We’re definitely feeling the shortage, but we find it best to maintain consistency. We have not altered any recipes, and we have not raised our prices, nor do we have plans to.
– About 1,000 limes are used a week per Cyclone’s location. We use over 300,000 limes per calendar year.
– A severe drought, citrus greening disease (Huanglongbing), harsh winter, and Mexican Drug Cartels have pushed wholesale prices of limes up significantly this year.
– Some Airlines have stopped offering limes in their in-flight beverage service.
“We still serve limes, though they’re more difficult to source. So, on some flights we’re substituting with lemons,” – United spokesman
“We temporarily pulled limes about two weeks ago, due to skyrocketing lime prices,” – Alaska Airlines spokeswoman