Dried fruit made national headlines last week with the news that Mondelez was adding sultanas to the recipe for its Cadbury Fruit & Nut bars.
While it probably did little to placate ‘outraged’ Fruit & Nut fans, Mondelez said the move would ensure it had a flexible supply of dried fruits to “retain quality and ensure it’s still an affordable treat”.
The need for flexible supply is echoed by ingredients experts, as prices of raisins, sultanas and currants fluctuate in light of climatic, economic and political events.
While below levels seen in 2013/14, the price of raisins (made from dried white moscatel grapes) is up 26.1% year on year to £1,466/tonne, according Mintec, with poor weather conditions tipped to bring a below-average yield for Turkish crops. Further pressure has been put on prices by drought in California that continues to affect production.
Although sultanas (made from dried white grapes) are currently slightly cheaper than raisins - at £1,444/tonne - they have also been badly affected by poor weather in Turkey and have soared 41.7% year on year.
Fluctuations have also been driven by currency fluctuations to the Turkish lira following recent elections.
In contrast, the price of currants (made from red seedless grapes) has dropped 16.5% to £1,096/tonne as a result of strong crop prospects in Greece.
“We predict prices [will] fluctuate until Turkey’s economy and currency stabilise,” said Tasneem Backhouse, sales and marketing director at EHL Ingredients, adding that manufacturers are reviewing suppliers and countries of origin for dried fruit.
Chile has gained traction in with its competitively priced jumbo flame raisins, said EHL, while Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and China, could also be alternatives.