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Is There A Cilantro Shortage?

As the culinary world continues to evolve, we see a growing demand for fresh herbs and spices. One such herb, cilantro, has been increasingly popular in a variety of dishes for its unique flavor. However, recent reports suggest a cilantro shortage, leaving many to wonder what’s happening and why it matters. In this blog post, we will know all about cilantro, explore the reasons behind the shortage, and discuss the potential implications for consumers and the food industry alike.

About Cilantro

Cilantro, also known as coriander, is an aromatic herb commonly used in various international cuisines. It has a distinct flavor profile, with some people loving it and others finding it soapy or unpleasant. Cilantro is native to regions spanning from Southern Europe to North Africa, and it has long been a staple ingredient in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Asian cooking.

Cilantro is a versatile herb, used in everything from salsas and chutneys to soups and salads. Its leaves are typically eaten fresh, while its seeds, known as coriander seeds, are used as a spice. Rich in vitamins and minerals, cilantro also offers health benefits such as aiding digestion and providing antioxidants.

Is There A Cilantro Shortage?

Yes, still there is a Cilantro shortage and people are finding it very difficult in the market. In stores, people are really sad to see empty Cilantro shelves. As a result, prices for Cilantro have risen significantly, making it harder for consumers to find and afford the herb. Some restaurants and food businesses have even had to adjust their menu offerings or find alternative ingredients to use in place of Cilantro.

is there a Cilantro Shortage

Reasons Of The Shortage

The shortage of cilantro can be traced back to a series of unfortunate events. There are several reasons that could contribute to a cilantro shortage:
Weather Conditions: Cilantro is a delicate herb that requires specific growing conditions, such as moderate temperatures and ample sunlight. Any extreme weather conditions, such as droughts or heavy rains, can disrupt the cilantro crops and lead to a shortage.
Supply Chain Disruptions: Issues in the supply chain, such as transportation delays or crop diseases, can also impact the availability of cilantro. If there are disruptions in getting cilantro from the farm to the store, it can lead to a shortage.
Increased Demand: As cilantro becomes more popular and widely used in various cuisines, the demand for it may increase, leading to a shortage if production cannot keep up with the demand.
Import Ban by FDA: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) partially banned imports of cilantro from some areas in Mexico. This was due to concerns about  parasite contamination linked to outbreaks of illness in the US [FDA and cilantro shortage]. Inspections of farms in Puebla, Mexico, a major source of cilantro for the US, found unsanitary conditions that could contribute to the spread of parasites.

Limited Domestic Production: The US relies heavily on imported cilantro, with about 40% coming from Puebla, Mexico. When the imports were banned, domestic production wasn’t enough to meet the demand.  This is because cilantro has relatively short harvest windows and isn’t widely grown domestically at the scale needed to fill the gap.

Shortage Impact On Consumers

The cilantro shortage had a profound impact on consumers. Many were left scrambling to find alternatives for their favorite recipes. While some opted for similar herbs like parsley, it didn’t offer the distinctive flavor of cilantro.

Restaurants were hit particularly hard. Many Mexican, Asian, and Middle Eastern eateries depend on cilantro to season their dishes. The shortage forced them to adjust their recipes or pay higher prices to secure the minimal available supply.

Effects Of Shortage On Mexican Cilantro Production

Mexico, one of the world’s leading producers of cilantro, was significantly affected by the shortage. With the domestic demand outstripping supply, the price of cilantro soared. This resulted in an economic downturn for small-scale farmers who couldn’t afford to buy seeds for the next planting season.

The shortage also exposed the vulnerability of Mexico’s agricultural sector to climate change and pests. It highlighted the need for more resilient farming practices, and improved pest management strategies to prevent future shortages.

Government Measures To Address The Cilantro Shortage 

The government has taken notice of the cilantro shortage and has implemented a series of measures to address the issue. These measures range from financial support to farmers to diversifying the sources of cilantro supply.

First, the government is providing financial assistance to farmers affected by the cilantro shortage. This support aims to help farmers recover from crop losses and invest in the necessary infrastructure to improve cilantro production going forward. Financial aid comes in various forms, including grants, loans, and insurance coverage.

Second, the authorities are actively working to diversify the sources of cilantro. This includes encouraging domestic production and exploring new international suppliers. By diversifying the cilantro supply chain, the government hopes to reduce dependency on a single source and minimize future disruptions.

Shortage Influence On Cilantro Prices

The cilantro shortage has had a significant impact on cilantro prices. With supply struggling to meet the growing demand, prices have surged, making this popular herb increasingly expensive for consumers and businesses alike.

In some instances, the price of cilantro has more than doubled, forcing restaurants and grocery stores to pass the cost onto customers. This spike in prices has led to many consumers cutting back on cilantro or seeking alternative herbs to incorporate into their dishes.

As the cilantro shortage persists, it is crucial to monitor the situation and adapt accordingly, whether that means adjusting recipes or budgeting for increased food costs.

Measures To Address Shortage

Various stakeholders, including farmers, researchers, and industry experts, are working together to address the cilantro shortage. Some of the measures being taken include improving farming techniques, increasing research and development, and promoting public awareness.

Farmers are adopting advanced farming techniques to enhance cilantro yield and reduce crop losses. This includes using better irrigation systems, implementing pest control measures, and utilizing high-quality seeds.

Researchers are also focusing on developing new cilantro varieties that are more resistant to diseases and pests. Through extensive research and development, the goal is to create cilantro strains that can withstand harsh conditions and minimize future shortages.

Lastly, public awareness campaigns are being launched to educate consumers about the cilantro shortage and encourage them to explore other herbs as alternatives. This helps to alleviate pressure on cilantro demand and allows the market to stabilize.

Other Herbs You Can Try During Cilantro Shortage

The cilantro shortage presents an opportunity to explore alternative herbs that can add flavor and depth to your dishes. Below are a few options to consider:

Parsley: Although it has a milder flavor, parsley is a versatile herb that can be used in a variety of dishes. It works particularly well in salads, soups, and as a garnish.

Thai basil: This fragrant herb has a unique flavor profile with hints of anise and licorice. It is commonly used in Southeast Asian cuisine and pairs well with spicy dishes.

Dill: Offering a fresh and slightly tangy taste, dill works wonderfully in recipes that call for cilantro, such as salads, dips, and fish dishes.

Mint: While it has a distinct flavor, mint can be used as a refreshing substitute for cilantro in some dishes, such as salsas, salads, and chutneys.


Cilantro shortage shows how easily our food supply chain can be affected by things like bad weather, transportation problems, more people wanting cilantro, and rules about importing it. This shortage means higher prices and changes for people who cook and eat cilantro. The government is trying to help farmers and find new places to get cilantro from, but for now, it’s a good idea to try other herbs in recipes. We need to work together and find new ways to grow herbs so we can keep enjoying tasty food without running out of ingredients.

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Richard Ambrosino
Richard Ambrosino
I'm Richard Ambrosino, and I earned my Master's in Business Administration from Stanford Graduate School of Business in 2001. With over a decade of hands-on experience in various aspects of business, I'm here to share my insights. From strategy development to financial management and leadership, I've been there and learned valuable lessons. At, I'm dedicated to providing you with the latest updates and practical advice to help you succeed in the world of business. Thank you for choosing us as your trusted resource, and I look forward to being part of your journey to success.

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