As of 10/18/19, the World Trade Organization (WTO) authorized a 25% tariff to be applied to $7.5 billion worth of various goods imported into the United States from Europe. The tariff is related to a longstanding trade dispute between U.S. airplane manufacturer, Boeing, and French airplane manufacturer, Airbus. The U.S. alleged that the E.U. provided unfair subsidies to Airbus and the WTO agreed, authorizing the U.S. to move forward with the retaliatory tariffs.
The new tariffs apply to a variety of imports from the EU including Spanish Olive Oil, Greek and Spanish Olives, Italian Amarena Cherries, Spanish Pears, and Danish Mussels.
Roland Foods is working hard to determine how this tariff will affect our company, and customers alike, and will be providing further updates in the coming months.
Roland Foods was affected by two U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods in the past year: a tariff of 10% in fall 2018 and 15% in spring 2019. These tariffs significantly impacted U.S. agricultural imports from China. Prior to these tariffs going into effect, we worked closely with our suppliers to stabilize raw materials cost and secure strong inventory levels. While the outlook is uncertain, we hope to see reprieve in the next 6-12 months and will keep you informed.
To discuss potentially affected items, tariff impacts, or further market intelligence, please contact your Account Manager.
Regional Market Report
Major Weather Conditions
Crops affected —Lychee
The Lychee fruit harvest in China was below average in 2019, which resulted in a shortage of raw material available to suppliers. In addition, the Lychee growing regions experienced severe pest infestation and excessive rainfall during the blossom season, further limiting the crop availability.
An unusually warm winter was to blame for the poor crop yield, which caused the fruit production to decrease across China – as much as 50% in some growing regions. The impact of unseasonal weather was exacerbated by an abnormally fruitful harvest during the previous growing season. Particularly fruitful seasons tend to exhaust the trees and are typically followed by a slight decrease in production.
Like many agricultural items, Lychee fruit is grown in specific regions and is susceptible to environmental changes in those areas. We make every effort to prepare for these changes and have maintained an ample supply of Lychee products. That said, consumers around the world are becoming more interested in floral flavored foods, like Lychee, due to a desire for innovative, bold flavors (Mintel, September 2019). Chefs are following suit and using Lychee to add an unexpected twist to both sweet and savory dishes. Think salads, stir-fries, and ice cream – or beverages like smoothies, martinis, and mojitos.
Crops affected —Coconut and Baby Corn
Products from Thailand are becoming more expensive, which adversely affects the markets for Coconut and Baby Corn. Thailand suffered severe drought during the 2019 monsoon season (July-October), as well as a fall armyworm infestation (an insect with a zealous appetite for corn).
Moreover, Thailand is experiencing currency fluctuation. Since March 2019, the Thai Baht has appreciated about 3.8% versus the Dollar.
• Baht 31.70 per USD 1 in March
• Baht 30.50 per USD 1 in October
The currency fluctuation is significant, and it may result in an increase in raw material costs, due to a shortage of supplies and political pressure. That said, we partnered with our suppliers to keep our Baby Corn and Coconut items in stable supply to fulfill your culinary needs. Looking for inspiration?
Baby Corn – most commonly used in stir-fries for added color and texture, Baby Corn can also be served alongside a variety of vegetables and dips in a Crudité tray or coated in batter and fried crisp for Baby Corn fritters.
Coconut Milk – known for its rich creaminess, our Coconut Milk from Thailand is a luscious non-dairy substitute for milk or cream in any dish. Try it in puddings and pies or Southeast Asian soups, sauces, curries, and stir-fries.
Roland Foods makes every effort to secure a steady supply of our items while maintaining the highest quality in the marketplace. We appreciate your partnership and understanding as we work through challenges.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Roland Foods was excited to bring on an Olive Oil supplier from Tunisia in 2019. Tunisia is one of the largest producers of Olive Oil and home to one of the oldest olive trees in the Mediterranean region. To highlight our new partnership and product from Tunisia, we are spotlighting Extra Virgin Olive Oil in this edition of the Bulletin.
Like olives, olive oil is available in many forms – from pure and refined to virgin and extra virgin. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is revered for being the best quality olive oil for it retains a true olive flavor and is less acidic compared to other varieties. It has a golden-green color with a fresh, fruity, and lively taste. We recommend using it as a finishing oil so its delicious flavors can shine through. Try it in a vinaigrette, drizzled over fish, or as dipping vehicle for a warm, crusty baguette.
We offer Extra Virgin Olive Oil in several varieties such as our Tunisian, Italian, Organic, or premium Don Bruno® Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Each product embodies slightly different characteristics and tastes to fit the needs of every customer. That said, our standard for high quality remains the same across our various lines. Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from carefully-selected olives that are simply cold-pressed and filtered with no chemical refining or heat tampering – olive oil in its purest form.
Take a closer look at just a few of our offerings below:
70656 – Roland® Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Tunisia – 4/1 Gallon
70632 – Roland® Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Italy – 12/33.8 Oz.
70670 – Don Bruno® Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Italy – 6/16.9 Oz
Cyber Security Awareness
As you may be aware, one of the most common forms of cyber fraud is phishing schemes. Phishing is the attempt to obtain sensitive information by sending authentic looking e-mails or creating web pages that are designed to collect an individual’s personal or a business’s online banking, credit card, password, or other login information.
The phisher relies on the recipient not scrutinizing the fraudulent e-mail or website close enough and giving away their information to someone they think is a trusted resource. In this online age, when most business is conducted over the internet, it is easy to underestimate the danger of phishing.
We, therefore, would like to remind you that if you ever receive a suspicious looking e-mail that appears to be from Roland Foods, please contact your IAM or Sales representative via phone, and they will be happy to confirm its validity for you.
We at Roland Foods take cyber security seriously, so please do not hesitate to bring any questions or concerns to our attention.