It’s hard to believe that this is already the 30th Edition of your favorite Plant-Based Newsletter. Or is it actually not hard? We hope you enjoy it at least half as much as we do, and plan to join us for the next 300 issues. Or 3000, why should we limit ourselves.
Fun and entertainment are one thing, but we know you value us most for our knowledge and market insights. Of course, as always, the newsletter is filled with them. There’s a lot going on in the market for plant-based commodities, and it definitely pays to stay informed. That’s why we especially invite you to read the news about what’s happening in the market. Especially, that is, exactly as always.
Recently, the demand for office paper has visibly decreased (we know it is not a plant-based commodity, you do not have to tell us that in your reply to this email). The reason is probably the shift of companies to remote or hybrid work. Also, demand for cardboard boxes and take-out packaging is down – consumers are obviously trying to save money. As a result, demand for Native Starches, used in paper, cartons and packaging, is declining. This is particularly evident for Native Corn Starch and Native Wheat Starch. At the same time, demand for Native Potato Starch is relatively high, but this is mainly due to extremely low availability (which also affects the production of Modified Potato Starch). A lot of feed grade corn and wheat from Ukraine is coming onto the market in Europe, as the grain cannot be transported to more distant markets for obvious reasons. This is not without impact on the grain produced in the European Union.
The demand for Modified Potato Starch and Modified Corn Starch remains stable at a relatively high level, mainly due to its extensive use in food production. There are many inquiries in the market for these raw materials from Southern Europe. There is growing interest in Modified Tapioca Starch, which is generally cheaper than the others. Some companies have concerns about buying it because it comes from Asia.
Sugar is crazy, and many companies are facing major shortages. High demand for white and brown sugar, whether from cane or from beets. European Dextrose is growing in popularity now that the price difference between it and Asian Dextrose, whose origin puts some off, has narrowed. The price of European Maltodextrin is falling after reaching a level where hardly anyone wanted (could?) buy it. The market seems to be experiencing shortages of Fructose; it is hard to find in Western Europe. An important producer is Turkey, which was recently hit by major catastrophic earthquakes, and this is also reflected in the market situation.
Vital Wheat Gluten is very popular, which is quite a surprise to some. We are receiving inquiries for trucks, mainly for March, Q2, and even full-year-contracts. A lot of interest is coming from North America. Corn Gluten Meal is used in feed in large quantities, but many buyers are holding off on deals because they are waiting for lower prices. There is a strong demand for Potato Protein in North and South America.
Denmark is considering a new tax on farmers
A government adviser argues that the country should cut beef and milk production to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and meet climate goals. ‘An incentive’ for farmers to switch to producing crops and pork that have less negative environmental impact would be an emissions tax of 750 Danish kroner ($108). Nothing stimulates life changes more positively than taking away money, right?
European farmers are concerned about drought
Europe has already experienced a drought last year that was described as ‘the worst in 500 years.’ It had a decisive impact on the quantity and quality of last year’s harvest. Now it looks like a similar scenario could repeat itself. Some regions of France, Italy and Spain are also experiencing severe droughts this year. So far, the consequences have been minor. There is no doubt that the lack of precipitation is hurting crops in the run-up to the spring season. Is it already fair to say that drought is a hot topic in 2023 as well?
The salad crisis in the UK continues
The so-called ‘salad crisis’ has been going on in the UK for several weeks. More and more supermarket chains are limiting the amount of each type of vegetable that customers can buy. The situation has been exacerbated by reduced winter production in greenhouses across Europe, due to high energy costs. The government says the key to getting out of the crisis is effective cooperation between supermarkets and farmers. A salad crisis? Really?
Food giant Dole has temporarily halted production in North America
The reason was… a hacker attack in early February. One of the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producers was forced to temporarily halt operations in North America after falling victim to such an attack. As a result, consumers were unable to find its products on store shelves. The matter was referred to the relevant authorities. What a time when even fruits and vegetables are attacked by hackers…
Argentine forecasts for soybean and corn harvests are lower. Even lower
Hot and dry weather conditions in Argentina continue to negatively impact crops. Temperatures are again expected to exceed 30 degrees Celsius in the coming days, plus a lack of rainfall is forecast. At this stage, it is difficult to say conclusively how the harsh weather conditions will affect the quantity and quality of the harvest.
Enbridge invests $1 billion to convert food waste into energy
U.S.-based Divert Inc, which converts rotting food into energy, boasted it has received a $1 billion commitment from Canadian pipeline operator Enbridge Inc. The investment is aimed at expanding Divert Inc’s facilities in North America. Maybe that’s the solution to high energy prices: waste processing?
Asia & Oceania
India’s sugar production below projections
There is a risk that India will produce less sugar than expected. The reason for this is sugarcane, which matures early and loses weight due to weather conditions. As a result, sugar production is expected to be lower than originally expected, which will certainly affect reduced exports. This is good news only for Brazil and Thailand, India’s biggest competitors in sugar exports.
The fall in the price of rapeseed in China will affect the world market
After the spring holiday, demand for oils and fats in China has dropped significantly, with rapeseed oil falling the most of all oil types. Forecasts of falling demand for rapeseed oil and meal in China coupled with increasing supply of soybeans on the world market will increase pressure on rapeseed prices in the near term. Both oil and the situation on the Chinese market are issues that should be watched closely.
What impact will rising temperatures have on India’s wheat crop?
It was decided to form a panel of officials to assess the impact of high temperatures on the wheat crop and yields. Earlier forecasts were for record yields, but the absence of winter rains has raised temperatures in key regions. Nevertheless, the condition of the crop looks quite good at this point.