Great British Baking to cost a small fortune

Paul Hollywood

With the Great British Bake off starting again, the nation is poised to don their aprons and give Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood a run for their money. However, when they hit the shops for the ingredients, they will be in for a nasty surprise, because the cost of a key ingredient has gone through the roof.

The almond harvest has dealt a bitter blow to bakers.

Poor harvest

Apparently the almond harvest in a number of countries has been dealt a severe blow. The Mirror has reported that in California the bee population has seen a massive decline, which meant fewer almonds are growing because of a fall in pollination.

Capital Press in the US reported that the nuts were smaller and trees were producing smaller crops than last year - and added that the cold winter had also hampered growth, while strong spring winds had knocked many of the nuts into the dust.

Meanwhile in Spain, the Mirror reported that rain earlier this year meant the plants couldn't flower properly, and production fell 40%.

Growing demand

Meanwhile demand for almonds has never been higher, which is also pushing prices up. Demand is growing 8% a year, as an alternative snack food and a key ingredient. The fact they have been shown to be good for people with diabetes, and provide a useful alternative to those with wheat allergies, means almonds are a vital part of many people's lifestyles.

Meanwhile global demand is soaring, and India in particular has seen almonds take off. Commentators here expect prices to hit an all-time high later in the year.

The cost

The cost in the shops never quite matches the rising price of the raw commodity. However, as the global price is expected to rise 30%, we could easily see rises of as much as 20% feed through into the prices of products containing the nuts.

So whether you're a sucker for a Battenberg cake, you're attached to your morning muesli, you're on a gluten-free diet, or you can't resist a roasted-salted almond - then you can expect to pay handsomely for your love of almonds in the coming months.

Seven of the craziest supermarket glitches
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Great British Baking to cost a small fortune

One of the most popular glitches, was a wine deal at Tesco back in November 2012, where a series of offers clashed, leaving a bottle of £9.99 wine selling for £1.50.

The 'three wines for £10' deal apparently clashed with a '25% off when you buy six or more bottles' deal. The 25% was accidentally taken off the original price rather than the reduced one, leaving the wine at rock bottom prices. Deal-hunters cleared the shelves around the country.

Perhaps the most popular glitch from Tesco came in June 2011, when instead of taking £4 off the cost of a £20 case of beer, the supermarket accidentally started selling the cases for £4. The ensuring rush was nicknamed the 'beer stampede'.

Sadly not every supermarket pricing glitch comes with such a happy ending for consumers. In March last year the bargain-hunters thought their luck was in, when Tesco accidentally priced the new iPad at just £44.99 instead of around £650. Sadly it spotted the mistake before shipping the goods. The small print on its website meant it could refuse to sell at this price, and refund their customers instead.

In September 2012, Asda was responsible for one of the most expensive glitches. The Asda Price Guarantee offered vouchers to customers who could have got their shopping cheaper elsewhere.

However, when certain trigger products were in the basket, the supermarket massively under-priced the shopping at other supermarkets, and offered huge vouchers to shoppers. In many instances the vouchers came to roughly the same as the cost of the shopping.

In April, a mistake on their website resulted in Tesco selling 8 packs of Bulmers cider 568ml bottles for £5 - rather than a six pack for £8.

Deal-hunters snapped up the deal online, and had varying degrees of success. Some had their order delivered in full, others had six delivered for £5 - and were able to negotiate their way to another two, while others were offered six for £5 or their money back.

October last year saw one of the most famous glitches, when Tesco Terry's Chocolate Oranges were subject to two deals at the same time, and the price dropped from £2.75 to 29p. There were plenty of people getting chocolate oranges last Christmas.

A buy-one-get-one-free deal went awry at Tesco in March. People putting four tubs of I can't Believe It's Not Butter or Oykos yogurt packs into the trolley were only being charged for one.

Soon the online deal-hunting community was in action, with one person bagging 50 tubs of butter and 22 pots of yogurt for £8.79 - a saving of £133.89.

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