Thursday, September 25, 2014

"The Hazelnut News Frenzy Continues"

'Hazelnut news frenzy' reminds me of a story from the WSJ's Matt Phillips a few years ago:
The clamor for more historical context on the current record low for U.S. interest rates has hit a fever pitch!
-from "U.S. Borrowing Costs: 1941-Present"
We've been keeping our distance from Nutella news, fearing it would cut into the pixels available for almond articles.
From Modern Farmer:
Turkey's bad weather in March led to a spate of news stories last month warning of a possible big shortage of Nutella, the chocolate spread with an unusually fervent fan base.

Now we know the effects: Wholesale hazelnut prices are up 30 percent, according to the Hazelnut Growers of Oregon. That is very good news for American growers, who are working to expand the tiny-but-burgeoning U.S. crop, but the high prices are not expected to last.

And, predictably, there is no actual “shortage” of Nutella, though prices for it have risen as well — by as much as 60 percent, and may rise yet more.

The whole thing started on August 20, when the Huffington Post ran a scary-sounding article about a looming “major shortage.” The HuffPo’s Jonathan Feldman declared that “if you see long lines at your grocery store, it might be people trying to get their hands on the last jars of Nutella before prices surge.”

The story was certainly attention-getting (and more to the point, click-generating), but even if production of Nutella were halted entirely, it seems unlikely it would have resulted in “long lines” of people hoping to snap up the remaining jars. Feldman did not respond to a request for comment.

As we’ve seen recently with limes, avocados, chicken wings, and other foodstuffs, “shortages” of certain popular commodities can make for highly viral news stories, whether the underlying problem is serious (limes) or hyped (chicken wings)....MORE