Will summer lose its fizz?

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Published: Sunday 31st May 2015 by The News Editor

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Planning to relax this weekend with a nice, chilled glass of Prosecco, followed by an indulgent chocolate treat perhaps?

Well make the most of it – because if recent reports are anything to go by, they may both soon be in short supply, along with pineapple and olive oil.

Admittedly, if UK consumers do face shortages of these luxury items, it’s not exactly going to be life-threatening (well, for most of us, at least), but if summer simply wouldn’t be the same without your favourite fizz, maybe it’s time to stock up now…

:: Olive oil over?

Poor harvests in Spain and Italy have prompted warnings of a massive shortfall in supplies reaching the market. While olive oil prices in the shops have fallen recently, costs are now increasing as a result of the poor harvests, leading industry experts to suggest there may soon be supply rationing.

UK managing director of Filippo Berio, Walter Zanre, told The Grocer: “In 15 years in this business, this is the worst year I have seen. There is not enough oil to meet demand. Sourcing good quality extra virgin in the second half of the year will be very difficult.”

Good quality olive oil should keep for two years if left unopened, but healthy alternatives include rapeseed oil.

:: Prosecco problemo

The problem with Prosecco is linked to a poor grape harvest last year, which has hit production of the Italian sparkling wine.

Demand for the drink had increased hugely recently, probably because the recession meant there was less cash to splash on more expensive alternatives like Champagne. Indeed, sales of Prosecco soared 75% in the UK last year – we spent £1billion on it – overtaking Champagne sales for the first time ever.

However, wet weather in Italy last summer meant that crops of the grapes used to make Prosecco weren’t as plentiful as usual, so less was produced. As a result, prices could rise by as much as 50%, meaning an end to cut-price bottles under £6. But there’s always alternatives, like Spanish cava.

Roberto Cremonese, export manager at Prosecco producers Bisol, told The Drinks Business: “Last year’s harvest was very poor, and down by up to 50% in some parts, so there is a very real possibility of a global shortage.”

:: Choco crisis

The price of chocolate, which is already rising rapidly, is predicted to soar over the next five years, as a result of rising demand and falling production.

The price of cocoa has increased by 50% in the past two years, and it’s expected to double by 2020. Productivity in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire – which together produce 60% of the global cocoa supply – is dropping because of less suitable farming land due to climate change, and lack of investment. The West African cocoa farmers, who have to put up with poor working conditions and only receive rock-bottom prices, are switching to more secure cash crops like coffee and maize.

Plus, there’s rising demand for chocolate in countries like Brazil and China, and this, coupled with faltering supply, means prices are likely to rise for all of us.

:: Pina-calamity

Pineapple prices have risen to their highest level for three years as a result of poor weather in Costa Rica, the world’s biggest exporter of the fruit, accounting for 90% of the fresh supply.

Cold and wet weather has hit this year’s harvest, leading to plummeting supplies and soaring prices.

And you know what that means? The price of a pina colada is going to rocket, so stock up on your pineapple juice now for summery cocktails…

Copyright Press Association 2015

Published: Sunday 31st May 2015 by The News Editor

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