Great British Baking to cost a small fortune

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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.

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