The situation in the market for plant-based commodities is relatively stable compared to other sectors. This is mainly due to its strong seasonality, which means that most major changes occur in connection with the following harvest.
Some say that the golden era of popularity for plant-based meat substitutes is coming to an end. Nonetheless, their popularity remains high in many regions, especially among young people, as reflected in the demand for the food grade of Vital Wheat Gluten, Hydrolyzed Wheat Gluten and Pea Protein. At the same time, demand for feed commodities is down for the same reason.
Seasonality and a relatively stable situation do not mean that nothing is happening in the market. On the contrary, you can even say that for many products we are just in the phase of waking up from hibernation. As always, everything you need to know about current events can be found in our newsletter.
Of all native starches, Native Potato Starch has the greatest potential. Demand for it remains high, while availability is still extremely low. For Native Corn Starch and Native Wheat Starch, a major challenge is that much of the corn and wheat is imported from Ukraine. Due to transportation problems, there could be difficulties in availability at any time.
Thanks to their wide range of applications, all modified starches are in high demand. It is due to shortages in market availability felt in Q4 2022, among other reasons. Although availability is now slightly better than in previous months, it is still not sufficient to meet market needs. We observe that more and more people are convinced of using Modified Tapioca Starch or seriously consider using it as an alternative to previously used raw materials.
All types of sugar and sweeteners are currently enjoying high demand. At the same time, their availability is very limited. The market for feed-grade Dextrose is slowly awakening, but many buyers are still waiting for more favorable offers. Demand for the commodity, both food and feed, from India and China is high. In the near future, prices will drop due to the influx of Asian raw material. When reaching for Dextrose from a new producer or supplier, pay special attention to heavy metal content. Maltodextrin prices are falling, in part due to the influx of commodities from Asia. One from other regions is also available, putting price pressure on the market. There is a demand for Fructose. There are offers on the market, some traders are waiting for prices to fall.
There are inquiries for large quantities of Vital Wheat Gluten, including from manufacturers of plant-based meat substitutes. For Corn Gluten Meal, there is strong interest from the Asian market, with many inquiries for huge quantities. The market for Potato Protein is slowly but noticeably awakening. Its situation is primarily determined by the poor harvest. There will be no significant change in the situation until September at the earliest, after the next harvest.
The French farmers are somewhat unhappy
Just kidding, they are very upset. A few days ago, hundreds of tractors appeared on the streets of Paris. They were farmers who had come to protest the restriction on the use of pesticides that followed the European Union’s ruling. The environmentalists are pleased that fewer agents harmful to soils and insects will be released into the environment, but the farmers are seriously concerned about sugar beet yields and subsequent sugar production. In their opinion, they have not been given any alternatives. Not a very sweet situation, that’s for sure.
Corn imports to the European Union have increased significantly
In the 2022/23 season from July to February 5, EU corn imports totaled 16.69 million tons, up 69% from the same period a year earlier. Demand for corn from outside member countries has increased due to the drought that has hit the European Union in recent months. The largest volumes were imported by Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal.
Hungary increases inspections of Ukrainian grain
The Hungarian government believes that the European Union and its bodies are inactive (French farmers would probably disagree…). Therefore, it was decided to introduce strict quality and safety controls for the whole food chain through which grain from Ukraine is delivered. The official goal is to protect Hungarian agriculture and farmers.
U.S. farmers boost corn crop after devastating drought
According to official data, only 24.04 million tons of corn have been exported from the United States since last year’s harvest, a 43% decline from the previous year. The main reason for this is the devastating drought that was hitting the country. This, coupled with rising fertilizer prices, has led many farmers to plant more corn (often at the expense of soybeans). The good news is that this could help ease global corn prices, which have skyrocketed following Russia’s aggression against Ukraine.
Argentina is likely to break the record in 2023
It’s all about record volumes of imported Brazilian soybeans. Argentina’s projected soybean crop for the 2022/23 season is very low, so producers of soybean meal and soybean oil are turning to Brazilian commodities to meet their commitments. Argentine soybean processors are predicted to become very desperate, and total imports could reach up to 2 million tons in 2023. It is clear that Brazil and Argentina will be real soy-mates this year.
Colombians value rice from Peru
Its high quality and competitive price have led Peruvian rice to conquer the market in Colombia. According to the latest data, Peruvian producers can potentially export up to 100,000 tons of rice per year to the neighboring country. Doesn’t that sound rice?
Asia & Oceania
Warm February worries Indian farmers
The relatively warm first half of February has farmers worried that wheat yields will be very low. A similar situation occurred last year. The uncharacteristically high temperatures for this time of year could have a negative impact on both the quantity and quality of the harvest. The consequences are difficult to assess at this point.
China’s pork prices trigger price cut for… soybeans
China is the world’s largest importer of soybeans and soy meal, so the entire market for these products is very sensitive to changes in the Chinese economy. Fluctuations in production volumes and pork prices in China have a significant impact on feed prices and also on soybeans themselves. Domestic pork prices in China fell 17.5% during the month and 43% during the quarter. As a result, soybean meal prices fell 15% during the quarter and soybean processing margins are close to zero.
Indonesia and Malaysia face EU deforestation ban
Talks are underway in the European Union on a new policy on deforestation. They are causing great concern among palm oil producers. Therefore, Malaysia and Indonesia have sent a delegation to Europe to gather information and present their views on the future policy of the EU. The new ban on deforestation could block future palm oil imports from the two countries. Their efforts are trying to prevent this scenario.