Brits are unlikely to pay much more for baked beans despite haricot crops being far smaller than a year ago, say industry insiders.

Latest estimates suggest the US crop of haricot beans - known as navy or pea beans in the US - will be about 164,000 tonnes - 27% lower than the 2012 crop of 223,800 tonnes [Michigan Bean Shippers Association]. Suppliers are still unsure what the precise volumes will be - the crop is usually harvested by the middle of September, but wet weather this spring delayed planting and the harvest is only now being completed.

“There is still uncertainty in the market,” said analysts Mintec. “There were also concerns the hail and storms may have caused production to fall.”

Meanwhile, supply from Canada - another important source of beans sold in the UK - is estimated to be down by about 25% year on year.

But experts say the estimates are being compared against a bumper crop in 2012, and suggest this year’s smaller crops are unlikely to have a significant impact on the price shoppers in Britain - the world’s biggest importer of US navy beans - pay for baked beans.

“The 2012 US crop was an anomaly. It was much larger than a typical year so this year’s smaller crop is, in some way, a sign of growth returning to normal,” said one industry source. “Businesses such as Heinz and Princes will be well positioned. I wouldn’t foresee any trouble for them in terms of pricing.”

Mintec data shows the price of US navy beans fell sharply during 2012 as a result of the bumper crop and has risen steadily during 2013. But despite fluctuation in the price of haricot beans, retail prices have stayed fairly stable. The average retail price of a four-pack of Heinz standard baked beans at the big four was £1.30 during 2011, £1.32 in 2012 and £1.34 this year [].

Commodity prices: palm oil and palm kernel oil prices rise sharply

Palm oil and palm kernel oil prices have been falling for most of the year because producing countries in Asia were expected to have ample stocks. However, in recent weeks prices have risen sharply as stocks have been found to be lower than forecast. Demand for palm oil has also increased as the lower prices have encouraged substitution from soyabean oil.

Meanwhile, coffee and cocoa prices continue to fall. Coffee is down as the main growing region in Brazil has been spared by frosts that appeared to threaten production earlier in the season. Cocoa powder prices have continued to fall from the peaks in 2011 as higher production has not been matched by any significant increase in powder demand.

Commodity prices table 16 November 2013