May seem like a simple question, but I think it’s actually more complex.
Lets use a tomato as an example as I have real world insight on the prices.
You have the chain of distribution as:
Truckload Wholesaler (optional)
In the summer I was buying Roma tomatos for as low as $5/case
Now they are around $40
My question is, who actually sets these price fluctuations?
The grower is usually in Mexico so seemingly they have a growing season that lasts all year, but I could be wrong.
Broker is in charge of connecting the grower with distributors, so he may be the one te set prices.
Truckload wholesaler, what would be the rational for gouging prices? They want to get rid of it as fast as possible. But maybe a price is raised to kick out some smaller customers when supply gets tight?
Case wholesaler, same story as truckload wholesaler.
So Straightdope, what are your thoughts?