Nutella shortage possible after Turkey hazelnut crop wiped out

Dec 19 2017, 11:45 am

For those who are fans of hazelnut-made products, it might be time to stock up. There could be a global hazelnut shortage after bad weather hit Turkey this past March, wiping out much of the product from the world’s largest hazelnut growing country.

The nation’s Black Sea Coast produces 70 per cent of the world’s hazelnut crop, but frost and hail storms damaged much of the crops just as hazel flowers were beginning to bloom, dwindling expected yields from 800,000 to about 540,000 tonnes.

Since March, prices for hazelnuts have risen by 60 per cent – a ten year global high for the product.

Italian chocolate manufacturer Ferrero Group consumes 25 per cent of the world’s supply of hazelnuts, making it the world’s largest buyer. The company is best known for producing Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Chocolates and Nutella.

With its hazelnut-spread product Nutella, more than 50 hazelnuts are needed to produce a single 13 oz. jar. The company began to produce the spread during Italy’s cocoa shortage during World War II. Today, demand for the product is now higher than ever, with global sales increasing by 6.4 per cent ($2.46 billion) in 2013 alone.

Last month, Ferrero announced it had acquired Turkish-based Oltan Group – the world’s largest grower and producer of hazelnuts.

However, its facilities are located in Turkey’s main growing hazelnut regions, the same areas that were affected by bad weather. The precise impact to Ferrero’s hazelnut products is not known at this time – the company has historically been highly secretive with its operations.

In the months ahead, there could be a shortage and further price increase of hazelnut products. Other confectioners like Cadbury could be more affected as they do not own their own supplies.

Hazelnuts are not the only foods facing skyrocketing prices due to unseasonal weather. Droughts in California and Brazil have reduced the almond and coffee harvest, limiting supply and increasing prices.


Featured Image: Nutella hazelnuts via shutterstock