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The Crazy Rise and Fall of Superfood Prices


You may have noticed that prices in the superfoods market can go up and down quite frequently. This is especially so for the popular superfoods like Maca, Chia and Quinoa. Many may think that this is a price war between suppliers and vendors of the products, or simply a result of intense competition that is heating up in the Singapore organic foods market. Before we readily believe these reasons, here are some recent global headlines on organic foods, namely, on Maca, Quinoa and Chia respectively.

The Maca Story…

“Buying Fever Grips Peru’s Maca Trade” ~ Fox news (Aug 6, 2014)

“China Buyers Go Crazy for Peru’s Maca Root” ~ Wall Street Journal, China (Dec 3, 2014)

“Maca Mania, Thefts (Smuggling) Rock Peruvian Town” ~ New York Times Service (Dec 9, 2014)

These Maca headlines tell you one thing – prices for Maca have gone crazy and have shot through the roof. This has even led to social problems among the producers, who believe that Maca is their ticket to prosperity. As we all agree, “When the big elephant of China moves, ants in smaller markets like ours die”. We remain hopeful that prices will reach some form of stability soon.

The Quinoa Tale…

“Quinoa Brings Riches to the Andes” ~ The Guardian (Jan 14, 2013)

“UN Kicks Off ‘Year of Quinoa’ with Focus on World Nutrition” ~ UN News Center (Feb 20, 2013)

When it comes to Quinoa, we see similar price-surge patterns, but this time, it is not caused by China alone, but by the developed world elevating Quinoa to the status of a luxury food on he coat tails of the UN announcement. Ironically, those the UN hoped their declaration would benefit (i.e. the poor and marginalized), ended up being the ones who are least able to afford Quinoa. Quoting an article, “Once a sacred crop for some pre-hispanic Andean cultures, it has become a five-star health food for the middle classes in Europe, the US and increasingly China and Japan…That global demand means less quinoa is being eaten in Bolivia and Peru, the countries of origin, as the price has tripled.” We are keeping our fingers tightly crossed that Quinoa prices drop accordingly to match global supply and demand.

The Chia Account…

“Chia Boom: With 239% Growth, Chia Category Set to Hit $1bn by 2020” ~ Food Navigator USA (22 Nov 2013)

“Chia Price Falls 39% – The Fall in International Prices and Overproduction…” ~ Central America Data (May 21, 2014)

Fortunately, the Chia story is swinging to consumer favor. In 2013, there was a crazy boom in Chia, where high demand globally saw a huge increase in prices. This remained high for the whole year of 2013 and into the first half of 2014, where there was a sudden drop in prices (due to overproduction and decreasing global demand) starting from Nicaragua and spreading throughout the Americas into 2015. Quoting a Peruvian supplier, “Every farmer wanted to plant Chia. They used every plot of land they had, even the small piece of land in front of their houses! As a result, too much Chia, more than the increase in demand needed…”. Naturally, all of us who take Chia are rejoicing.

Nature’s Superfoods’ Promise

True to our promise to keep prices affordable and share savings with our customers, we at NSF have kept our Quinoa and Maca prices as stable as possible despite the instability that still surround the global market. For Chia, we have slashed prices, not only to reflect the global market, but to ensure that as much as we have enjoyed the lower prices from our suppliers, you will also benefit from our savings in a real way. We value your trust and loyalty, and we look forward to more years of good relationship and good business with you.

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