David Hider – May 2018


Three rather different, unusual topics  to discuss here: Vanilla prices, the Asda merger with Sainsbury’s and the Nestle purchase of Starbucks retail sales.

In the nut business we are used to the way the weather affects commodity prices, take the price of Brazils last year as an example, when much of the world opted out of the Brazil nut.  Now the edgy world of ice cream is having to cope with a 500% increase in the price of vanilla, which has exceeded  $500/kilo because of weather and political unrest in Madagascar the main source of the flavoursome plant. So perhaps we need to look into the other flavours  in Ben and Jerry’s range (try the Phish food !)

The headline said merger but in reality , Walmart , the world’s largest retailer, who own Asda , are backing out of the UK business, albeit retaining a 40% share in the joint business.  Retailing giants come and go, but it is difficult to succeed across the globe – stick to that one farm shop maybe.

Finally, Nestle, owner of Nescafé and Nespresso, (along with a few chocolates!) have reportedly paid Starbucks about 8 billion dollars for the privilege of selling the global brand of coffee beans and grounded blends to supermarkets and corner shops throughout the world – another purchase for the Competition Authority to investigate perhaps?

Finally a less well known fact is that the North Yorkshire Moors National Park is creating a huge Dry Stone Wall Maze, high up in the heart of Dalby Forest and you can have your name on a stone, just like me, for a donation.  For my 70th birthday, Duncan bought me such a privilege and last weekend the family went up to see the ongoing work and to see if we could actually find my stone. We did, but the stonemason told me that this large project will take decades to complete unless they get more funding. So have your initials carved for posterity, a good cause and you get to see a beautiful part of the country at the same time.

David Hider