California's drought adds to food inflation with tomatoes, onions, garlic hit

California's ongoing drought is expected to impact the prices of key crops, driving food inflation even higher for consumers.

The U.S. Drought Monitor – a collaboration between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),

the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration – reported about 94% of California fell under the severe, extreme or exceptional drought categories as of last week.

In early July, nearly 97.5% of the Golden State had such drought conditions.

 California grows over one-third of the nation's vegetables and three-quarters of its fruits and nuts. 

he state's total production of tomatoes, garlic and onions in 2021 was 224.01 million hundredweight (cwt), 4.192 million cwt and 19.026 million cwt respectively, per statistics from the USDA. 

Drought conditions and high temperatures in California "have made it difficult for growers to meet market demand," 

the department reduced this year's production projections for California processing tomatoes,

which are used to tomato-based products like ketchup and pasta sauce, by 2% compared to last year