UK Butter Prices Continue to Rise

UK Butter Prices Continue to Rise

Since the beginning of 2016 UK butter prices have risen over 20%. This is because the cost of cream (the primary ingredient in butter) has tripled in price. It’s no surprise that industry professionals are now warning of shortages leading up to the Christmas period. These shortages could not only affect the price of butter but may well impact the price of other dairy products, including festive favourites such as mince pies. So what exactly is driving prices up?   The UK Milk Crisis The reason we are seeing price increases on dairy products such as butter and cream, whilst the cost of milk remains relatively low, is primarily due to competition for UK milk supply which is falling rapidly. Stuck in a boom-bust cycle, the dairy market has become increasingly volatile. 2016 saw a 10% decrease in production of British milk. Farmers were advised, following a Russian ban on all EU dairy imports, that the UK market was saturated. This drove prices down and led to a surplus of milk. Now plagued by the increasing production costs and ever-growing prevalence of diseases such as Bovine Tuberculosis, producers are struggling to sustain healthy herds and turn a profit, following a poor year financially in 2016. Whilst some dairy farmers are choosing to diversify, most struggle to remain financially solvent with many forced to quit farming altogether.   Supermarket Price Wars The ongoing battle between supermarket giants has further contributed to the plummeting price of British milk. Whilst retailers battle it out for the cheapest price per litre, driven by consumer trends, farm gate prices have fallen as low as...
Vanilla: The Price of Black Gold

Vanilla: The Price of Black Gold

Madagascar is the world’s largest producer of vanilla, exporting over 80% of the global supply. Following a cyclone that devastated the area, the country’s vanilla trade remains unstable, with prices continuing to rise and supply dwindling. Cyclone Enawo hit the Island of Madagascar in March this year, devastating the local area and wiping out up to 80% of the annual yield. This followed two consecutive years of crop failure due to droughts, a consequence of El Niño weather patterns. With emergency aid the primary concern for the country, supply of vanilla has been scarce and production has been slow to restart. There has been global concern over the future supply and quality of the pods during the period of instability. The overwhelming demand for the product, which is 100% natural and appeals to current consumer trends, has seen buyers seeking to secure sufficient stock for the winter period. This additional pressure could compromise overall quality as its sees commercial producers exporting quick cured and even green vanilla pods. These supply and demand issues, coupled with unfavourable currency movements, mean that further price increases can be expected universally across all vanilla products, with vanilla pods seeing the largest increase. Littlepod vanilla paste and vanilla extract are an excellent way to continue to support the REAL vanilla campaign, as it relieves pressure on growers by making use of all pods harvested, regardless of shape or size. The products are versatile, and although prices may increase, will remain a more affordable and sustainable alternative to vanilla pods, without compromising on quality and flavour.  ...
Pineapples – A Fruit Fit for a King (or Queen)

Pineapples – A Fruit Fit for a King (or Queen)

Originally discovered and brought back to Europe by explorers in the 1400’s, pineapples were grown across South America for hundreds of years previously and were a welcomed food source for indigenous tribes. It was in South America the fruit was first referred to as Ananas, a name that, in many European languages, remains the same today. The crop is now cultivated globally, with over 25 million tonnes exported around the world from countries including Indonesia and Costa Rica, which remains the world’s largest producer of pineapples. Born out of necessity, due to increased demands from European and North American consumers, agricultural developments have allowed for flowering of the plant to be artificially induced. This makes way for a second crop of smaller fruits, maximising yield. Pineapple is one of the few fruits that do not ripen after harvest. Once the crop has been cut its colour and flavour will remain the same until it starts to perish. For this reason the crop is cut early and the rich yellow colour is artificially induced before harvest. If left to turn yellow the fruit would bruise more easily during transport, leaving it more susceptible to rotting. A Brief History of Pineapples The name pineapple was originally used to refer to what we now call pine cones. When the fruit was first discovered in South America, by European explorers, it was given the name pineapple in reference to its rough and wood like texture, similar to a pine cone. The fruit earned its scientific name ,Ananas Comosus, from the indigenous tribal languages spoken across South America and was first recorded almost 100...
Kale – A British Favourite

Kale – A British Favourite

A regular in our fridges, Kale has become the mainstay of many British menus. The term ‘Kale’ refers to a cultivar of the Brassica Oleracea Species, however it is more closely related to the wild cabbage than to other cultivated members of the brassica family, such as Calabrese, Cauliflower and Cabbages. Varieties of Kale are classified not only by the colour of their leaves, but also by their leaf shape and stem height. The most recognizable variety, Green Curly or ‘Scots Kale’ is followed closely in popularity by Black Kale (often referred to as ‘Cavelo Nero’ or ‘Tuscan Cabbage’). In 2015 supermarket giant Waitrose recorded a 343% increase on the previous year’s sales of Cavelo Nero. Comparatively, during the same time period, spinach achieved a mere 19% increase. Originating from Asia Minor; the westernmost point of Asia, now known as Turkey, Kale is thought to have been brought to Europe by Celtic wanderers in around 600 BC. In more recent years the leafy green has been championed by British farmers due to its hardy nature. The annual crop has proved resilient in winter and can survive in temperatures as low as -15 degrees Celsius. The plant is also well suited to a variety of soil compositions, but thrives in the mineral rich soil found in the east of England. Throughout the UK growing season (June to March) the majority of British kale is produced in Lincolnshire, however outside this season it is readily available from European Growers. The composition of Kale is primarily water, carbohydrates, protein and fats. The vegetable also contains, per 100g, more than four times of...