Retailers and shoppers are facing further hikes in the cost of risotto rice following a second year of poor crops.
Leading brand Gallo this week warned it would look to pass on price increases of about 10% to UK retailers - just as it had to do a year ago.
Italian growers planted more rice this year than in 2013, but heavy rains during July and August damaged production. As a result, yields of the most popular Italian rices in UK retail are lower than last year’s, which were also hit by bad weather.
Arborio yields are down 8% year on year, and down 42% on the good crop two years ago; and carnaroli yields down 13% year on year and down 38% on 2012.
“Poor weather in the middle of the growing season, and harvest in October, has meant for the second year running there are reduced yields,” said Gallo UK MD Jason Morrison. “Combined with almost no carryover stock because of the 2013 harvest, this is having a dramatic effect on price.”
According to figures from Borsa Granaria, the Italian government stock exchange, arborio is selling at a high of €626/tonne, up from €530 a year ago, and €363 in November 2012. Carnaroli, meanwhile, is selling for as much as €621, up from €575 in 2013 and €366 in 2012.
The retail price of arborio at the top five mults has risen 9% year on year in the case of branded rice to £4.57/kilo, while own-label prices have been static at £2.20/kg [BrandView.com]. Industry insiders said they expected retail prices to increase again, and would be surprised if own label did not also increase this year.
Following this year’s hikes, Gallo introduced a blend of risotto rices, called Risotti Selezione Speciale, to hit a lower price point. In 2015 it plans further NPD designed to bring new consumers into the risotto category.