Welcome to my world where instability is now the default norm. Markets are, as ever, all over the place, with some a little weaker for a change. It’s enough to make a commodity buyer remove his monocle, pull his fez down over his eyes and take to his chaise long for a siesta. If I time it right I might wake up just in time for Christmas lunch. Speaking of which, it’s that time of year when our wholesome nut roasts are flying out of the door. To avoid Yule disappointment – ADD TO BASKET!
Deep and Crisp and Vegan!
You will have read about the Chinese slowdown and its effect on Western stock markets. This impacts on our lives in more ways than one might think and is by no means all bad news. The massive decline in the price of copper for example means it less likely that your railway journey will be delayed by the overnight theft of copper-rich trackside signalling gear.
Your holiday in raw-material abundant Australia will become cheaper as Chinese demand for coal and iron ore falls away, their economy flat-lines and the currency remains weak. I’m told that the price of a cappuccino in Perth has dropped from £5 to £1.80. Streuth.
The internal situation in China isn’t too pretty. A recently returned pumpkin trader reported that their building boom makes the surplus of holiday homes in Spain look like a minor blip. He drove on motorways through empty glass and steel developments the size of Croydon built in the anticipation that their economic expansion would go exponential. It hasn’t.
As you may recall the Chinese were major players in fuelling the demand for luxury nuts like cashews, almonds , pecans and walnuts and with reduced demand from that sector we should see a weakening. Almonds however, as you know, are in the hands of the world’s finest market manipulators – from constant wailing about drought they are now crying El Nino, which may produce heavy rains, snow, hellfire and damnation upon the good folk of Californ-i-a. It may . It may not. But with these uncertainties in the air we are unlikely to see the market collapse.
Meanwhile over in Turkey, another major key commodity player, we see mixed news. The sultana and raisin crops were a bit of a disaster hit by unseasonable weather patterns with new crop offers opening much higher. By contrast this year’s apricot and hazel harvests are, at the time of writing looking pretty healthy with concomitant reductions in price. It remains to be seen whether last year’s ridiculous pricing levels will have permanently damaged overall demand. “Demand destruction” as a brazil nut trader once put it when brazils doubled in price and demand all but disappeared.
Closer to home, plant protein sources are proving ever more popular with sales of our Peanut Butters higher than ever.
Hemp protein contains all 20 amino acids and has the advantage of containing Omega 3 & 6. Superfood powders are still thriving . Sales of Baobab & Moringa rattle along in the fast lane along with the old favourites Wheatgrass & Barleygrass. Formats now include effervescent wheatgrass tablets, protein shakes and protein / superfood bites. And I have on my desk a nicely presented packet of organic soya bean spaghetti, presumably fulfilling demand from that same area. In the non-dairy drinks category almond continues to lead the way with soya based milks a bit flat but nevertheless maintaining their place in the hierarchy. Needless to say there are a few coconut variants out there too.
Even closer to home, our new Organic Soya Spread is proving very popular, little wonder as it seems, after an exhaustive search by an Elland Private Detective, that it is the only one on the UK meerkat.
Sunshine Spreading from the North!
Our man at the cutting face of chocolate tells me that Raw Chocolate making kits, are flying off the shelf and the new Raw Hot Chocolate is also proving very popular. In his own words he seems to think raw chocolate is what he chooses to call the “mutt’s meatballs” or some such similar phrase. Sounds frightful to me but he assured me this was positive news.
The Paleo notion continues to intrigue the consumer . Our Brand team are currently working on an authentic paleo lager based on an eleven thousand year old recipe discovered locally in a nearby cave in Brighouse, West Yorkshire. This is brighter news, enough perhaps for me to get of my chaise long, put on my flip-flops and order a couple of container loads of walnuts to keep you all happy.
Until next time, I remain your humble servant.
Lord Geoffrey of Price