UK bakeries have faced a 15% rise in the price of sultanas over the last two months amid warnings that supplies from Turkey could dry up by early summer - three months before the next harvest.
Bulent Ergani, marketing and sales manager at the Tugrul Tarim export company in Turkey, told British Baker that a lack of rain had meant a poor harvest, with yield down from 300,000 metric tonnes (mts) last year to around 200,000 in 2007. "I expect in May or June that there will be no more exports," he added.
Mark Setterfield, managing director of RM Curtis, estimated in the firm’s latest market report that, after exports and domestic demand in Turkey, there would be a "grand total" of 40,000mts to last until the next harvest. He said prices would remain high and supplies could "run dry".
However, David Armstrong, chief executive Bako (UK Bakers Buying), said: "Our understan-ding is that most of the fruit destined for export has already left Turkey." Since post-Easter usage is lower, he did not envisage supplies running out, but said that Bako is looking at other suppliers, notably Iran, to ensure its customers’ demands were met.
Ben White, sales director at the family-run Marshfield Bakery, north of Bath, said the price of sultanas had risen by 15% in two months. "But we cannot pass on those charges over that period, as the outlets we supply have six-monthly or yearly price lists, so we have to absorb it," he added. The bakery uses sultanas in its fruit cakes and chocolate sultana flapjacks.