Red and pink salmon UK importers are hoping to pay similar prices to last year for red salmon following a record final catch of 28.5 million for Bristol Bay. But the packers are adamant that their returns must rise to mitigate a 5% rise in cannery costs as a result of higher labour, fuel and tin plate bills. Canners also say they are being hit by the weak dollar and the lack of any carryover stocks. "There is every justification for red prices to rise with inflation, " said one source in Seattle. "We have a healthy domestic demand and firmly believe export markets will have to reflect our higher production costs." As for pink salmon, hopes have been dashed of a return to a normal run of 120 million fish after last year's catch of just 70 million, as the Alaska Department of Fish and Game has downgraded its forecast to 90-100 million. Canning lines running empty and rising demand for frozen pinks from markets in the Far East could result in last year's high prices for UK importers being maintained. Tuna At a time when UK retailers are using tuna in a price war, a serious shortage is leading to factory closures in Asia and delays to shipments. The price of skipjack in Bangkok has soared to $1,600/tonne, equalling the previous record. Multipacks have been on bogof, giving consumers the opportunity to buy a dozen 180g cans at 41p each against a regular price of 79p. "The position has become nonsense," said one importer. "180g skipjack chunks are being sold below cost and 20% below replacement cost." Fruit juice Fruit juice processors are facing unprecedented raw material increases on all soft fruit as a result of frost damage earlier in the year. Hardest hit was Poland, which accounts for the majority of supplies, particularly blackcurrants. Some Polish soft fruit crops are down 80% resulting in price increases of 400%. "The soft fruit industry is still in the hands of small farmers, so the impact has been slow to determine. Nevertheless we have a disaster on our hands," said a UK processor. Strawberries and raspberries are also affected so the smoothie sector is also expected to be hit. In spite of a normal peach harvest in Greece, demand for pulp has created an unexpected shortage of fruit for canning. Russia has placed large orders for pulp, diverting fruit from canners and resulting in growers getting a premium, even though the fruit costs less to grow. The fruit is smaller than average, reducing yields of juice and adding to potential quality problems.