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  1. #1
    Mid
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    Coconut milk crisis as supermarkets run dry

    Coconut milk crisis as supermarkets run dry
    Harry Wallop
    28 May 2011

    A global shortage of coconut milk has led to empty supermarket shelves, leading to a crisis for middle-class gourmets hoping to whip up a Thai curry this weekend.

    A disastrous harvest in Thailand, combined with the worldwide surge in commodity prices, has led to a sharp fall in the amount of coconuts being harvested and a significant increase in price in all related products, especially coconut milk.


    James Tanner green curry recipe

    The drought in coconut milk has echoes in the great fettuccine famine of 2007, caused by the spike in wheat prices, and the purple sprouting broccoli shortage earlier this year, all of which have been rude reminders to foodies about the increasing fragility of the global food chain.

    Thailand, the world's biggest producer of coconut milk, was hit by a beetle infestation last year. Normally, the monsoon rains wash away the worst of the bugs, but it failed to arrive this year and coconut yields have been down by 60 per cent. The civil war in Ivory Coast, another major supplier, has exacerbated the situation.

    Wholesalers and the restaurant trade have been hit for some weeks, with Leon, the upmarket takeaway chain, forced to change its menu. Now, supermarkets' supplies have been hit and stores have had either empty, or very depleted shelves. Sainsbury's this week had a sign up at many of its outlets apologising for drought, while most Waitrose shelves have been empty.

    Coconut milk has become a staple in millions of foodie households in recent years, being a key ingredient in many Thai dishes, as well as south Indian cuisine. And consumers have taken to supermarket message boards to complain, with one thread on Mumsnet, the parent's social media site, talking about the "shocking" price of coconut milk.

    Henry Dimbleby, the chef and co-founder of Leon, said: "It's been a nightmare. At one stage we were ringing up our suppliers on a daily basis to find out if the boat with coconut milk which appeared to be the only one in the world was going to land in the UK."

    Robert Simon, the managing director of SPL Foods, an importer, said: "This who problem is symptomatic of the food industry in the last couple of years: food inflation being caused by a change in weather patterns.

    "It is having an absolutely dramatic effect all down the supply chain from traders to restaurants and supermarket shoppers. Prices have at least doubled."

    He estimated that the wholesale price for a standard 400ml can of basic coconut milk had increased from 25p to 54p. On supermarket shelves, depending on the quality it varies between 74p and 2 a tin.

    Coconut milk is made form the flesh of the fruit itself, sometimes mixed with water.

    Making the shortage worse has been the surge in palm oil prices, which has forced some industrial users of oil in the toiletries business for instance to switch to coconuts.

    telegraph.co.uk

  2. #2
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    good2bhappy's Avatar
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    have noticed a shortage for some time

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mid
    Thailand, the world's biggest producer of coconut milk, was hit by a beetle infestation last year. Normally, the monsoon rains wash away the worst of the bugs, but it failed to arrive this year and coconut yields have been down by 60 per cent.
    Countries relying on rain to control bugs, novel idea.

  4. #4
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    If anyone wants to buy some, my local supermarket is laden with it. I'm willing to sell it on at quadruple the price, plus you pay shipping.


  5. #5
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    I noticed a shortage here as well. Normally theres a nice little section at the local supermarket here for coconut milk, the boxed chaokoh and other various coconut milk, but all of that has since disappeared at all markets.

  6. #6
    Thailand Expat brettandlek's Avatar
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    This is interesting.
    Just yesterday I was at the local asian grocer and the missus wanted Aroy-D but they didnt have any cans, only the 1 litre box thing, but a few weeks before they did. They also had no Chaokoh at all, let alone cans.
    Best get down there and stock up on whaever is left, we dont each much but nice to have the good brands when we do.

  7. #7
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    I wonder if they are aware of this in Issan.
    When we were there for Songkran, I wanted some Nam MukPow (coconut water) after my jog, so, went to a friend's farm where we went out with a long bamboo pole and his trees were all heavily ladened with huge coconuts.
    The water inside wasn't quite as sweet as the stuff we get in the south but it had twice as much.
    He said, the local don't like coconuts.

  8. #8
    Thailand Expat misskit's Avatar
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    The Tesco Express in my area has not had coconut milk in stock for months. I used some soy substitute they had in place of it. Yuck.

    This morning I noticed there was a large stock of coconut milk in all sizes, all brands.

    I bought a few boxes just in case they ran dry again.

  9. #9
    ding ding ding
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    I been scouring mom and pop stores for this for months now, Big C have had zero stock in KK since January.

  10. #10
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    I went to Makro in Nakhon Sawan today and they have a full shelf of coconut milk, We do not use it as we have our own coconut trees, that supply our coconut needs.
    I just wanted to give a heads up to anyone close to Nakhon Sawan, that has been looking for coconut milk.

    Cheers

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