"It's been a trend for years that nuts are healthy," says Mathijs Segeren of Antares Commodities. This Dutch company focuses on importing and selling almonds, pecans, Brazil nuts, and macadamia nuts. "Nut bars and granola products are really developing and are products our clients sell. So, there's an increase in demand for, for example, pecan and Brazil nut pieces." Antares is a trading company and supplies the processing industry, small packers, and market vendors throughout Europe. Around ten percent of its clientele are in the Netherlands.
Consumer trends are one of the aspects this nut trader considers when buying the nuts. For example, when the coronavirus pandemic started, the demand for Brazil nuts suddenly rose. These nuts are rich in selenium, which is thought to help protect you against COVID-19. This isn't the only impact the corona crisis had. Antares' clients supply sectors like the hospitality industry and market vendors. There was, therefore, a slight decline in demand during the first wave. "Our clients took fewer risks and were first assessing the situation. But, demand is increasing again."
The global market is another important focal point when sourcing nuts. That includes aspects like weather conditions, harvesting, and global demand. "It's variable greatly from nut to nut," says Mathijs. "That's why we focus on four different varieties. You have to deal with the market every day. You'll then know what's going on in your products' countries of origin. And what the prices are based on. Prices fluctuate with the harvest, for instance. It's our job to follow market changes." That's how the company decides what to buy.
That allows Antares to use its accumulated stocks if the market becomes tight. "We fill most of the gaps for our clients when there's less available worldwide." But Antares also supplies pallets to clients who don't need entire containers. Mathijs thinks that, as is customary, the demand for more luxurious nuts will increase towards Christmas. "There's a higher demand for these kinds of nuts during the Festive season. People are more generous at Christmas and would rather buy, say, macadamia nuts or pecans. It's the time of year when you're allowed to serve something nicer," he concludes.