If You Love Nutella, You Should Start Stocking Up Immediately
The news: If you love Nutella, you'd better get to the supermarket fast and stock up. Prices for the gooey cocoa hazelnut spread are threatened by surging crop prices, which are up by 60%, a ten-year high, according to the Weather Channel.
Turkey supplies an estimated 70% of the world's hazelnuts. But after a season of bad weather, the industry is preparing for a small harvest of the nut, jeopardizing the availability of Nutella and other hazelnut-based items.
The background: Nutella is made by the Italian-based company Ferrero. According to the company, each 13-ounce jar contains over 50 hazelnuts. BusinessWeek reports that "Ferrero is already the largest consumer of hazelnuts, consuming 25% of the world's supply."
Nutella dominates the chocolate spread market, holding 70% of U.S. industry sales. To ensure their supply wouldn't drop too drastically, Ferrero purchased their own Turkey-based hazelnut supplier in July and believes they'll be able to manage Turkey's harsh frost. Time will tell if they're right.
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This has been a bad year for crops. Hazelnuts are one of several crop facing serious shortages. Limes, mainly coming into the U.S. via Mexico, suffered heavy rains in late 2013 that damaged production. Shortly after, Mexican criminal gangs' looting orchards and shipments affected the fruit's prices as well.
Back in March, there was a frenzy over diminishing avocados. California's drought has affected overall production in 2014 and scientists predict that it will only get worse in the next 30 years, possibly plunging by 40%.
The takeaway: Crop production is suffering in large part due to extreme weather conditions like heavy rain or freezing temperatures. Lime, avocado and hazelnut shortages foreshadow serious changes to what will be on the dinner table in years to come.
As it stands now though, despite the company's reassurance, the future of Nutella and other hazelnut treats is unclear, though a price increase could very easily be on the horizon. Nutella lovers, it's time to go out and buy some before rationing hazelnut spread becomes a reality.