The poor grape harvest last year is not just taking its toll on wine lovers - salad fans are set to suffer too, with vinegar prices expected to rise in 2013.
Poor weather in key production regions, such as France, Italy and Chile, caused global wine production to fall to its lowest level since 1975 last year [International Organisation for Vine and Wine]. Suppliers are now warning low supplies are likely to translate into higher prices for all wine-based products, including wine and balsamic vinegars.
One source said grape prices for some vinegars had increased by more than 40% year-on-year, and that producers of balsamic vinegar (typically also made from wine vinegar) were facing cost increases of more than 25%. In light of such significant input cost rises, retail prices would inevitably have to follow suit at some point, suggested another.
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Rob Amar, MD of fine foods distributor RH Amar, did not say by how much he expected vinegar prices to increase, but agreed they were headed upwards. “Overall, given the high wine content used in the production of wine vinegars, it is likely that the shortfalls in last year’s wine harvest and corresponding price rises will create knock-on increases to the cost of wine vinegars,” he said.
Vinegar specialist Aspall also warned of rising pressure on suppliers. “Aspall will always look to limit the impact of inflationary pressures however, there is a point when we have to pass a small amount on to customers,” said partner Henry Chevallier Guild. “It goes without saying that last year’s bad grape harvest is likely to put pressure on suppliers.”
The grape-related increases expected for the vinegar category in 2013 come on top of average price inflation of 3.5% in 2012 [BrandView.co.uk], driven by higher packaging and energy costs, among others.