A global shortage of coconuts has hit home in the U.K., forcing a breakfast dish off the menu at sandwich chain Pret A Manger Ltd.
Diners seeking Pret’s coconut porridge have been turned away this month, with some told it would not return until early next year. The 2.65 pound ($3.53) item, made with coconut milk, oats and red quinoa, is unavailable because of low stocks of the tropical fruit from Pret’s supplier, the company said.
It’s not just Pret, best known for lunch fare like its crayfish and avocado sandwich. U.K. grocer Asda also shows coconuts as being sold out on its website. The country’s grocers and breakfast spots are falling victim to a global shortage caused by surging demand after celebrities like singer Rihanna and actor Jessica Alba promoted rival coconut water brands as sports drinks.
Despite 1 million hectares (2.5 million acres) of new coconut plantings in the last 10 years, global production is stagnating as a result of declining productivity, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The downward trend, mainly due to aged palms as well as pests and diseases, pushed spot prices to a record $2,000 per metric ton in May, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Worldwide production of coconut, concentrated in Indonesia, the Philippines and India, stands at 16 million metric tons, according to Fairfood, a nonprofit organization based in the Netherlands. About 1 in every 20 products sold at supermarkets -- from shampoo to Bounty candy bars -- contains it, the group says.
Pret A Manger said it sells 6,000 servings of coconut porridge daily.
“Our food team are working extremely hard to get coconut porridge back into Pret shops,” spokeswoman Ellie Ciccone-Hughes said by email.
News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine