I recently walked into my local health food store to grab a jar of my much beloved almond butter. As I reached for the jar I almost fell off my chair, though I was standing. $20 was the asking price. WHAT?!?! For the jar I knew used to cost just a little over $10. I honestly thought it was just that particular store trying to pull a fast one. I ventured onwards to two or three other places and it was the same thing; either they didn't have any in stock or it was also about the same price. What's up with this?!
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Where's my trust fund?[/caption]
I did a little investigation and I learned that there are some major issues currently plaguing the almond industry. California grows about 80% of the world's supply. Partly a victim of it's own success, demand for the nut has soared over recent years. It's now more widely consumed than the lowly peanut in North America. The reasons for the massive increase in consumption are multi-fold.
People have come back to embrace dietry fat and are no longer afraid of nuts' high fat content. As such, nut butters have really come into vogue the last few years, almond butter chief among them.
Some also point to the popularity of the paleo diet which shuns grains and dairy. Almonds have stepped up to the plate as a popular milk alternative.
Demand for the nut is only growing and growers are struggling with the current argicultural conditions in California. The sunshine state is now in its 4th year of severe drought. The industry has coped much blame when it was reveled that it takes about a gallon of water to yeild a single almond.
The decline of the honeybee is another natural disaster driving up almond prices. Farmers are now having to rent hives to pollinate their orchards, something that used to happen naturally by wild bees.
And that's why almond butter costs $20 a jar.
As much as I love almond butter, it's a bit steep. I will instead be swapping out for other nut butters like walnut, sunflower and I might even revisit the childhood favourite and old standard, peanut butter.
Read more about the crisis:
Why are almonds so expensive?
Almond crunch: California's drought withers world supply
Almond prices rocket due to honeybee shortage
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