Onions are a favorite vegetable because of their powerful flavor.
Whether you roast it and eat it on its own, or cut it up and use it in other dishes, almost everyone has onions in their kitchens.
However, you may have noticed that the bow you are used to has become more expensive.
Given that onions are a staple crop, you might wonder why they have become so expensive.
Why are onions so expensive? (10 reasons)
The average price of an onion is about $1.50.
However, some types of onions cost around $2 or more.
Some factors such as problems with growing onions and the type of onions make the price a bit more expensive.
Let’s consider these factors in more detail.
1. Drought problems
There is no doubt that one of the biggest problems driving onion prices up is drought.
A large number of onions grown in the United States come from California.
The problem with California is that most of the state experiencing a drought.
The drought is caused by high temperatures and low rainfall.
Onions require enough water to stay alive.
When the harvest is not enough, the onion does not grow.
This affects the supply of onions available for the market.
This also affects the future onion crop.
Farmers cannot plant new onion seeds if the soil is still too dry.
This hinders the ability of seeds to germinate.
Because of this, there is a strong possibility that future crops will also face difficulties due to high yields.
Due to onion shortages, grocery stores have to outbid each other for boxes of onions.
Because they pay higher prices for onions, they will sell them at higher prices.
Onions are expensive due to the drought that has hit California.
2. Winter storms cause scarcity
One of the unique qualities of the bow is that it can withstand lower temperatures.
Part of this is probably due to the fact that the bulb is in the ground.
Thus, a few low temperatures should not affect the health of the onion too much.
However, when temperatures drop below freezing, onions can start to have problems.
At the moment, it’s a question of how long freezing temperatures last.
If it is cold for several days or even weeks, the onions may not survive.
However, if it’s just one cold day, there’s a good chance the onions will be fine.
Some states in the western US have had several winter storms recently.
While not all of the onions died as a result, some fields were affected by the storm.
This also affects the supply of available bows.
This further exacerbates the deficit.
Due to shortages, consumers are forced to pay high prices.
Onions are expensive because some winter storms have destroyed some fields.
3. Cases of salmonellosis
Another problem that regularly affects onion supplies is outbreaks of salmonellosis.
Salmonellosis is a serious bacterial disease that can be very unpleasant for those who contract it.
While most people do well without treatment, some may die from the disease.
Thus, whenever there is an outbreak of salmonellosis, everything that has been in contact with the source is recalled.
Onions have had their fair share of salmonellosis outbreaks.
Whenever there is an outbreak on the farm, they essentially lose a lot of money.
They cannot sell their crops because they cannot believe that the disease is not everywhere.
They would have to check every bulb, and that would be even more expensive than simply recalling them.
In addition, as the outbreak affects the supply of onions, this could further exacerbate the shortage.
Grocery stores have even fewer choices.
Salmonella is also difficult to protect against.
While all farmers follow certain protocols to reduce the risk of exposure, this is a real issue when using fertilizers.
Any time there is a salmonella outbreak among onions, you can expect the price of onions to rise.
Onions are expensive when there is a salmonella outbreak.
4. Fuel costs
Farmers face high costs.
These increased costs also drive up the price of onions.
One of the increased costs they have to contend with is fuel.
Fuel costs are expensive for several reasons.
Some refineries have either reduced production or shut down completely.
Trade embargoes have also affected fuel prices.
The problem with high fuel costs is that farming is getting a lot more expensive.
Farmers need a lot of fuel to power their tractors.
Since some farms use many machines in their work, they also have high fuel costs.
This cuts their profits and forces them to sell onions and other crops at higher prices.
Fuel costs also become an issue when it comes to transportation.
Whether they transport the bow by truck or ship, most vehicles still use fuel.
Depending on how far the bulb needs to travel, the vehicle may need expensive fuel before it reaches its destination.
It also affects how much the farmer or grocery store has to pay.
Fuel costs can increase the cost of growing and harvesting onions.
To offset these costs, farmers and grocery stores need to sell onions at higher prices.
Onions are expensive due to high fuel costs.
5. Fertilizer cost
Another big expense that farmers have to deal with is fertilizer.
The price of fertilizer has been a point of contention for many farmers.
Farms need fertilizer to stimulate growth in their fields.
This helps to nourish the soil, which in turn encourages crop growth.
Without fertilizer, there is a chance that their crops will not grow to the desired standard used for human consumption.
Because of this, farmers are desperate to get fertilizer.
The problem with fertilizers is that they are constantly in short supply.
Several factors play a role that contribute to the lack of fertilizer.
Russia cannot export ammonia and nitrogen for fertilizer production.
China has begun to move away from ammonia production in favor of more environmentally friendly technologies.
Without these two main suppliers, fertilizer companies have fewer resources to produce their products.
As a result, they can only make a certain number of bags of fertilizer.
This means that farmers have to spend more money on fertilizer.
Considering how big some of their fields can be, this is a great investment.
As a result, farmers bear high costs.
To break even, they need to charge higher prices for their crops, such as onions.
Onions are expensive because of the high cost of fertilizers.
6. Some types of onions need to be picked by hand.
One way some farmers can save money is by using machines.
This reduces the amount of labor they must have and pay.
The problem with onions is that some of them are tender.
If a machine were digging them up, there’s a chance they’d break the bow in the process.
The entire field may be in danger of ruin.
Thus, some farmers have no other choice but to hire labor to manually harvest the onions.
Manual harvesting takes a lot of time.
It requires careful work. Otherwise, the worker will simply ruin the bulb.
In addition to labor itself, farmers also face longer harvest periods.
Harvesting onions by hand takes much more time than just using a machine.
As a result, the farmer pays wages over a longer period.
This may increase their value.
Some brands will also use this for marketing.
They will make their bow seem superb as the workers harvested it by hand from the fields.
This usually also increases the price a little.
Onions are expensive when farmers have to harvest them by hand.
7. Red onions are harder to grow.
The variety of onion also affects its price.
For example, red onions tend to be slightly more expensive than other types of onions.
This is because red onions are a little more difficult to grow.
They have slightly more vulnerabilities than other bulbs.
Sometimes they need a little more water or a little more sun.
Because they are finicky, they do not always have the strongest yields.
Thus, the amount of onions a farmer produces is not always as high as other types of onions.
Even if there is no shortage of other onions, there may be a shortage of red onions.
Thus, red onions will be more expensive.
Red onions also take a little longer to grow than other types of onions.
Thus, they consume more resources to grow.
They require more water and more fertilizer to grow.
To make up for the loss of resources due to red onions, the farmer must set a higher price for them.
Onions are expensive when they are red.
8. Take time to grow up
One annoying aspect of onions is that they take a while to grow compared to other crops.
Onions can be taken from anywhere from 100 to 175 days reach final maturity.
Meanwhile, they are soaking in costs.
The farmer has to spend more water and fertilizer on them so that the onions continue to grow.
This also means they have to keep weeding them, which can be difficult to do since most of the weeding is also done by hand.
For example, it is too dangerous to use a weed killer, and some farmers have abandoned the use of herbicides.
The longer the onion grows, the more money the farmer spends on it.
Onions are expensive because they take a relatively long time to grow and mature.
9. Yellow Spotted Iris
Onions are also not alien to diseases.
One particular disease that onions often fall prey to is iris yellow spot disease.
Onions become infected with iris yellow spot when infected onion thrips – insects – eat the plants.
This is a virus that spreads throughout the onion and causes lesions to appear.
The problem with iris yellow spot is that it can affect both the current onion field and the adjacent field.
If an illness occurs, the lack of onions can worsen even more.
The fewer onions on the market, the higher the price.
Onions are expensive during outbreaks of iris yellow spot.
10. The size of the bulbs varies
The last reason for the high cost of onions is related to the size of the bulb.
The larger the onion, the more expensive the onion.
This is because many grocery stores sell by weight.
Large bulbs tend to weigh more than small bulbs.
Larger bulbs are also more valuable in terms of quality.
This gives more product.
There’s also a good chance that the farmer has invested some money to get their bows to that size.
This also affects the price.
Onions are expensive when they have large bulbs.
Onions are a popular vegetable because of their flavor.
However, due to the difficulty of growing onions and the costs associated with farming, they have become slightly more expensive.