Pine nuts: The problem of shorter supply out of China has been exacerbated by the ending of any volumes being allowed to be imported from neighbouring former Soviet Union states, leaving China stranded, with insufficient stocks to meet its existing and new forward demand. We would advise manufacturers to reverse any new product development involving pine nuts, as supply will be tricky at best. Any forward contracts into the UK trade will be a nightmare to fulfil and it may end up cheaper to buy a retail pack off the shelves than to buy a bulk container from China.
Pumpkin seeds: Although supply from China this year was widely reported as being nearly 40% down on the previous year, compounded by the currency effect, which effectively doubled prices year-on-year, prices have now stabilised, although this reprieve may not be the start of a price decline.
Sunflower seeds: Chinese sunflower seeds are in good supply. Although UK prices have firmed due to a weak sterling, the commodity itself has weakened, both to reflect stronger supply as well as a reduction within the edible oils markets - in which sunflowers are a prominent player. Forward pricing on sunflower seeds should remain quite stable and trade within a narrow range.
l Based on information provided by ingredients supplier RM Curtis