Muesli makers are feeling the crunch as raw material prices edge perilously close to a record high.

At an average of £608.80 per tonne, the price of muesli ingredients has gone up by 56% over the past three years. It is currently up 13% on the end of 2010 and 1.2% year-on-year. The previous high was set in mid-2011, when muesli blend hit £617.20 per tonne [Mintec].

Whey powder, hazelnuts and almonds are the muesli ingredients responsible for the biggest year-on-year rises. Whey powder is up by 35.7% to £760 per tonne, hazelnuts are up by 32.6% to £5,624 per tonne (see p21) and the price of almonds is up 38.6% to £2,404.

Over the same period, wheat, skimmed milk powder and raisins have become cheaper, falling by 22.2%, 16.5% and 6.8% respectively, year-on-year.

Manufacturers can tweak their recipes to a certain extent to offset price hikes, but there is less room for manoeuvre if several core ingredients become pricer over a prolonged period.

The effect of higher raw material prices is already being felt on supermarket shelves, with many big brands now significantly more expensive than they were a year ago.

At an average price of £2.60 across Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose, a 750g box of Alpen Original is now 24p more expensive than 12 months ago. An 850g pack of Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious Muesli, meanwhile, has gone up 21% across the major mults, from £2.26 to £2.73 [].

Nick Barnard, co-founder of Rude Health, admitted the muesli market was experiencing “increased ingredients price pressure”, with oats - up 4.2% year-on-year to £187.5/tonne - a particular pressure point.

“Oats are in increased demand to fulfil the growth in porridge and granola,” he said. “All the oats in our muesli and porridge are organic - prices have risen and we expect them to continue to.”