Chocs away: Crunch time for fans of Green & Black’s almond bars that have all but disappeared from shops

Retailers have been told that their disappearance is linked to an 'ingredient shortage'

It may come to be known as the mystery of the vanishing Green & Black’s Organic Almond chocolate bars.

Stores across the country – including Waitrose and Wholefoods – have reported running out of stock of the high-end snacks, which usually retail for £2.29 for 100g bars.

Fans of the bars, which combines milk chocolate with whole roasted almonds for a “full nutty flavour”, have described frantic week-long searches for their favourite chocolate treat.

Green & Black’s refused to be drawn on the situation – declining even to confirm whether there was a problem with supply.

But The Independent can reveal that retailers have been told that the disappearance of the bars is linked to an “ingredient shortage” – almost certainly of the almonds central to their recipe.    

Leading almond importers across the UK have reported a year-on-year price increase of up to 35 per cent due to a perfect storm, made up of last year’s heatwave in California, dwindling bee populations and a poor European harvest.

Dave Price, commercial manager at a leading nut supplier, said that these factors have led to almond stocks seeing one of the largest increases amongst an upward trend in commodity prices.

“Extreme temperatures in California meant the state was hit by a drought, leading to smaller nut sizes. Exporters calculate the product by weight, so more nuts are needed. In turn, only larger nuts can be used in processing, all of which has exacerbated price increases,” he said.

“It looks like Spanish and Italian crops, which have seen demand rise to make up the shortfall, will run out before the end of the season, despite their raised prices.” Experts say that the effect of the Californian heatwave was further exacerbated by a slump in the bee population in the US state – which grows 80 per cent of the world’s almonds – saw crops hit by a reduction in pollination.

The price increases have led to knock-on factors including the withdrawal of long-term contracts as importers fear price increases from distributors, while farmers may hold back almond stocks with an eye on a better price.

Mr Price reported prices rising from around £4,200 in January 2012 to over £7,000 last month, adding: “The consumer hasn’t seen the full impact yet. While there’s been a steady increase, prices have really taken off over the last two to three months.” While this may seem a distinctly middle-class problem to some, the repercussions of an increase in almond prices would be wide-ranging. Marzipan suppliers recently expressed concern about the increase, while the nuts are used in a range of cakes and breakfast cereals.

Robin Fitzgibbon, commodities manager at Infinity Foods, a specialist in organic wholesale and retail produce said that while almond crops are short, the nut can still be found and that demand remained healthy.

“The price of organic almonds has gone up around 35 per cent in the last year. That might be an issue for some buyers, and could be the final nail in the coffin for certain products.”

Waitrose and Wholefoods both confirmed that Green & Blacks Almond Chocolate bars were out of stock. Wholefoods said they had been informed the product had been discontinued, but Green & Blacks did not comment.

Green & Black have since come back to The Independent and said supplies of the chocolate will be back on shelves "as soon as possible".

A spokesperson from the company said: “Regarding the Green & Black’s Organic Almond Bar, we have experienced some challenges in the production of the bar and are working closely with the suppliers of our organic whole roasted almonds to make sure our much loved Almond bar makes it back on shelf as soon as possible.

"We want to take this opportunity to reassure our fans that the product is not being discontinued.”

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Mid Weight

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...

    Recruitment Genius: Transportation Contracting Manager

    £33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel and Spa Duty Manager

    £18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...

    Recruitment Genius: Payroll and Benefits Co-ordinator

    £22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...

    Day In a Page

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test