Over the last few days there has been considerable media coverage regarding a so-called global ‘raisin shortage,’ following the recent California wildfires which made headline news. The so-called raisin shortage, the reports allege, will cause a major price hike for products containing raisins, notably hot cross buns.
Peter Meadows, UK Marketing Director, California Raisin Administrative Committee (RAC) and board member of the National Dried Fruit Trade Association (NDFTA), has issued the following statement to address the inaccuracies in these reports:
“This press release refutes the ‘shortage’ claims and aims to state the facts regarding the present world situation and supply of sun-dried raisins, sultanas and currants.
According to the reports from the October 2017 Dried Grape Conference held in Monterey, California, the GLOBAL supply of sun-dried raisins and sultanas is only down by 7%.
This includes Northern and Southern hemisphere producing countries, which have different harvest times. The Northern harvest is August-September and the Southern one is February- March
The Conference tonnage report states that there were 1.33m tonnes of raisins available in 2017, a 7% reduction on 2016’s 1.43m. 2018 figures are not yet available from Southern hemisphere countries. The 2017 total of 1.33m tonnes is UP from 10 years ago by around 30%. The California 2017 crop (Northern Hemisphere) is still being delivered.
California has just over 300k tonnes available this year, including carry in from last year. The new 2017 crop was down to 220k tonnes from 300k the previous year, due to poor weather at key times of the year, very wet weather in January/February 2017, and then a heatwave in the Summer.
The California wildfires being referred to in some articles were confined mainly to the Napa Region – over 200 miles away from the Raisin drying areas in and around Fresno… so the fires had virtually zero impact on California raisins supply.
There is no global shortage, but there has been a rise in raw material costs from the majority of producing countries and regions.
The Greek currant crop is down to 15k tonnes from previous years, when it was closer to 30-35k, but that has been the trend for the past five years.
The Dried Grape Conference concluded its report by stating, “The statistical analysis undertaken at the conference showed a lower crop due to unfavourable weather conditions throughout the countries. Carryover stocks will be limited, but it will be possible to supply normal market demands”.
The national media coverage of this story, to coincide with Easter and the supplying of the traditional raisin hot cross bun, may generate more questions on trade supplies. Please liaise with your existing local trade supplier who will be able to keep you informed.”