Lack of water affects almond prices

Almond prices may keep rising, said Kim Conboy, senior buyer, nuts, for Flagstone Foods.

“Would you think that $5 (per lb) almonds were out of the question, or out of the equation,” she said June 1 at the 38th annual purchasing seminar sponsored by Sosland Publishing. “In the past a lot of people would have said yes, but the reality is they are trading in that range.”


For a reason for the high prices, she said water levels in California reservoirs remain less than ideal.

“Hopefully, fingers crossed, El Niño will come this fall and relieve some of that,” she said.

This year the subjective estimate for the California crop is 1.85 billion lbs, which is close to the size of last year’s crop, Ms. Conboy said. The almond industry, with traceability systems already in place, should fare better under the Food Safety Modernization Act than some other tree nut industries. For example, the high price of almonds may have people seeking cashews as alternatives, but the F.S.M.A. may make it harder for Vietnamese cashews to enter the country.