COVID Market update: agar agar and cardamom
COVID-19 repercussions are now finally starting to stabilize: all of our supplier's are back to normal production, most lockdowns in the world are now over / planned... the only problem is the massive hike in shipping / freight charges, which have resulted in a huge spike in food costs around the world, spices not being much of an exception. Whereas we used to pay an average of around HKD10,000 for shipping a container across the world for years, recently this has become closer to HKD30,000 for the same thing (coming to HK) and we consider ourselves lucky... outbound containers from China mainland to Europe and the US have been going for between 7,000-10,000USD in shipping charges alone!!
Agar Agar powder pricing has begun to go up faster than most. This product is a natural seaweed grown off the shore of eastern China. Chinese costs of production have been rising notoriously in the years, and even more since COVID. Traditionally, the product was used as a gelling agent alternative to gelatine in puddings and desserts, mainly in India and the Middle east. Recently, this product has also become very popular as an ingredient for vegan cheese, leading to much heavier demand from all over the world.
Green Cardamom pricing is coming down, surprisingly as quickly as it spiked up last year, it's now starting to come down this year. We've already recorded a 20-25% drop in price since November, and with our new lot arrivals in another month or two, another 20% drop is expected to come in.