One key user of almonds for cake products, including marzipan, said that a poor crop was expected this year, following similarly disappointing harvests in 2003 and 2004.
The market was already short, and this was poised to be exacerbated as surplus stocks started to disappear.
A spokesman for the company said: “Almond prices are presently at a market high of $8,500/tonne - a rise of $3,800, or 80%, on the same time last year. With demand for nuts and nut products continuing to grow, it is difficult to see how the market can be satisfied.”
Buyers who have until now been sheltered from the increases by pre-negotiated contracts were about to be exposed to the full impact of short supply as discussions about 2006 contracts got under way, he warned.
“Almond products such as marzipan, nut pastes and pralines are affected every bit as much as shelled and unshelled nuts,” he added.
Other nut prices had also increased, which meant that substituting almonds with cheaper alternatives was not an option, he warned.