The most popular products currently offered by Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import Ltd include macadamia nuts and almonds from Australia, cashews from India and Brazil nuts from Bolivia. The Kisdorf-based company regularly receives goods from the respective countries of origin. The volumes on offer depend on the demand from its customers, which include the processing industry as well as food retailers, natural food traders and health food stores.
Good demand, high costs
"There is definitely a good demand. It is increasing, even, as more and more consumers are paying attention to the health aspect in particular," says Walberg. However, the high container and freight costs make many goods more expensive. "Banana chips, for example, are actually one of the more affordable items. Due to the increased freight costs, we are forced to adjust our prices. Which, of course, has a very strong impact on the lower-priced items. In previous years I paid between $500 - $600 for containers, but currently we are at $11,000."
In fact, he said, there are currently virtually no 20ft containers left for shipments of walnuts and prunes from Chile. "We are expecting at least a four-week delay for the goods to even be loaded onto the ship. It will probably then take another four to five weeks at sea before they reach us," says Walberg. The situation is similar for aronia berries and sunflower seeds from Ukraine.
Image: Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import
Impact of rains and floods in Australia
Given the heavy rains and floods in Australia a few weeks ago, the company had to deal with extra shipping problems, Managing Director Thomas Walberg told us. "The almonds weren't so much the problem, but the macadamia nuts were. In principle, we are still at the start of the harvest right now. The first containers of macadamia nuts from Australia are not expected until August/September." According to Walberg, many traders are still holding back on their prices because they want to wait and see the effects of the floods.
The only positive thing about the floods, again, is that the soils were thoroughly irrigated, creating good conditions for the coming years, Walberg says.
An almond orchard. Image: Horst Walberg Trockenfrucht Import