Almonds: The huge surge of demand from predominantly China, has redefined the global almond demand and this, reflected by massive increases in the monthly shipments from California, has pushed prices approximately 65% higher than they were at the start of October 2009.

Walnuts: The problems resulting from China producing a short crop and turning net importer, have resonated across all origins and pushed "light amber" prices up by 15% across January. These increases on the "light grades" have been even worse, with Californian and Indian prices higher by more than 30% over the same period.

Cashews: Cashews are starting to look increasingly good value, set against the prices trading on almonds, pecans and pistachios. So some increase in cashew nut demand is expected, but hopefully offset by adequate supply from the forthcoming Indian and Vietnamese new crops.

Pecans: The main issue has been the impact of an unexpectedly reduced US crop, set against huge increases in demand from China for both kernels and in-shell pecans.

Pistachios: Supply of pistachios from both key origins in US and Iran, are well down and, set against strong demand, prices seem set to climb. Current prices on kernels and in-shell are both trading at levels over 30% higher than the previous "norm".

l Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis