Bad news for Nutella lovers

Nutella is a popular hazelnut spread.
Photo / Creative Commons
Nutella is a popular hazelnut spread. Photo / Creative Commons

Chocolate makers and fans of hazelnut-filled products including Nutella spread may need to brace themselves for price rises, after poor weather devastated hazelnut crops.

Around 70 per cent of the world's hazelnut crop is grown near Turkey's Black Sea coast, but this year's harvest is likely to be heavily hit after hail storms and frost in late March devastated hazel flowers at an important time in their growing cycle. The price of the nut has subsequently already skyrocketed by more than 60 per cent.

Already faced with the rising price of cocoa, chocolatiers must now contend with the cost of the nuts reaching US$10,500 per tonne, compared with US$6,500 per tonne in February, according to Michael Stevens, a trader at Edinburgh-based Freeworld Trading, the Guardian reported.

Stevens added that some buyers are living hand to mouth, as contracts pre-dating the frost cannot be fulfilled.

While the extent of the damage is unclear, the Turkish hazelnut industry predicts it will only manage to harvest 540,000 tonnes of its 800,000 tonnes target.

The world's largest confectionary companies are now likely to be nervously watching the market to decide their next move.

Ferrero, who are behind the moreish Nutella hazelnut spread and Ferrero Rocher chocolates buys 25 per cent of the world's supply of hazelnuts, making it the world's biggest buyer, according to the Italian Trade Agency. However, the company may not be affected as it recently purchased Oltan - Turkey's largest hazelnut producer. The Independent has requested a comment from Ferrero UK and Ireland, but has not received a response.

Meanwhile, Mondelez, the US owner of Cadbury - whose hazelnut-stuffed Whole Nut bar is a best seller - declined to tell the Guardian whether it would raise the prices of its chocolate bars.

The potential changes come as manufactures attempt to deal with climbing almond and cocoa prices.

However, while the weather in Turkey has coincided with a drought in California which has sent almonds prices to a nine-year high, cocoa is more expensive due to a changing market. The product is at a three-year high as customers in China and India appear to have developed a sweet tooth

- Independent

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