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Drought in India curtails chickpea crop, leads to spike in hummus prices

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LONDON—British shoppers began noticing in recent weeks that hummus prices were up significantly. The cause: a drought thousands of miles away.

Insufficient rains in India have resulted in several years of poor harvests of chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus. The country, by far the world’s largest producer of chickpeas, grows the legume mostly for domestic consumption. But worse-than-expected harvests mean that it has had to buy more chickpeas from growers elsewhere, putting pressure on supplies worldwide and driving up prices.

Those limited supplies of chickpeas have combined with rising demand for hummus in Britain to send prices higher. Average prices for the dish at supermarket are 12 per cent higher than a year ago, according to the trade magazine The Grocer and the research consultancy Brand View. That is significantly more than grocery price inflation of 3.6 per cent, and overall inflation of 2.7 per cent.

It is the latest example of weather leading to poor harvests in one part of the world, and resulting in shortfalls and price rises at supermarkets far away. And it serves as a reminder of the complexity and fragility of the vast global system putting food on the plates of consumers around the world.

Last year, a cyclone that devastated Madagascar sent prices for vanilla pods surging. The east African island nation accounts for 80 per cent of the world’s vanilla supply, and the storm meant the country’s annual crop was cut by around 15 per cent.

That set off a supply crunch, at one point pushing prices for vanilla pods, which were about $30 (U.S.) a kilogram in 2012, to more than $700 a kilogram in 2017. Those prices, coupled with poor crops, were too high for some retailers. Oddono’s, an ice cream chain in London, stopped selling vanilla ice cream for several months.

A drought in California drove almond prices sharply higher in 2014 and 2015. That came just as demand for a broad range of nuts was surging, pushed in particular by increased consumption in China.

In 2015, the combination of rising demand for chocolate in Asian countries, unusual weather in major cocoa-producing countries of West Africa, and attacks of fungus resulted in higher prices for chocolate. The factors just happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

Britain is particularly vulnerable to shifts in the international food system. It imports almost a third of its food, so a weaker currency, driven in part by uncertainty over the country’s exit from the European Union next year, could make groceries even more expensive.

The unexpectedly severe drought in India of the past few years has affected hundreds of millions of people in the country. It has also had consequences for global markets, including for chickpeas, as India typically produces 10 times the amount of the legume as the next-biggest producer, according to data from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

In Britain, hummus has quickly gone from being a niche snack, introduced to supermarkets in the 1990s, to being a staple. The dish, a specialty of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, was voted one of the products most likely to be found in Britons’ fridges in a 2013 survey of European food habits. Annual sales of hummus in the country total more than ₤100 million ($140 million), up about 50 per cent from four years ago, according to the research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

Indeed, worldwide demand for hummus has driven up interest in chickpea production, and analysts expect a shift toward healthier eating will continue to bolster the dish’s popularity. Farmers in the United States, for example, were forecast to drastically raise their chickpea harvests last year, according to official data, after what was already a record year in 2016. And scientists from Scotland and Ethiopia are jointly exploring the development of drought-resistant chickpeas.

For now, some manufacturers in Britain are trying to absorb the higher costs.

Ramona Hazan’s London-based business, Ramona’s Kitchen, makes about 75 tons of hummus a month, both for supermarkets and for sale directly to customers. Each 250-gram tub costs about ₤1.60, but tighter margins resulting from higher chickpea prices mean she is now looking at diversifying.

“We might look at pea and mint dips, extend our range to things not as chickpea-based,” Hazan said.

Others have taken to searching for options elsewhere. AGT Poortman, which supplies chickpeas to companies that make hummus for British supermarkets, said its prices had increased around 40 per cent from 2015 to 2017. To supply clients, it has asked them to allow it to buy chickpeas from a wider variety of places.

 

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What does Digital Marketing in South Africa look like today?

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Digital Marketing around the world is at different stages of advancement, from the highly competitive online world in the UK and the US to the less established but rapidly growing scene in countries like South Africa.
In this article, we’re going to pick the brains of James Williams, the Head of Digital Marketing at online loan provider Wonga South Africa, to see what the world of Digital Marketing looks like today, and how it compares to some of the world’s most developed online markets.

Having worked in Digital Marketing in London for a number of years before returning to his native South Africa to take the reigns at Wonga, James is perfectly positioned to compare the two. These are his thoughts…

The importance of culture

One of the key lessons James learned when moving from the UK to the South African market was the importance of culture, and how this affects just about everything you do online. Businesses often talk about ‘localising’ their online assets when expanding into foreign markets and this same process needs to be used to adapt their digital marketing efforts.

When talking about localising assets, it means adapting a product, service or piece of content to meet the needs of a particular language, culture or desired population’s ‘look-and-feel’. The same needs to be done to a business’s Digital Marketing strategy.

In South Africa, there are 11 different languages, each tied to a very different culture. That makes the outreach process much more challenging than in a single language market like the UK. James found that the strategies that were working well in London were producing mediocre engagement rates in South Africa. Instead, James had to almost forget the techniques that had worked before and try new strategies, explore new territory and collect fresh data to help him decide the best approaches to take.

Choosing the right language

Another important consideration for businesses operating online in South Africa is what language to use to attract the greatest level of engagement. The vast majority of South Africans can speak English, but the use of Afrikaans online is currently growing rapidly. That means companies with the resources to do so would be wise to produce all their online assets in both English and Afrikaans.

The primary language used online can also change significantly from location to location. For example, the Western Cape area is largely Afrikaans speaking, while the province of KwaZulu Natal is predominantly Zulu. Digital Marketing campaigns need to reflect this if they are to be successful.

The burgeoning digital scene

One of the biggest benefits of the South African digital scene is the fact that it’s still very much in its infancy when compared to the US and UK. That’s actually a good thing because it means the consumer hasn’t yet been exposed to the huge amount of low-quality content marketing that is all over the internet in the UK. So, when you do create a quality campaign in South Africa, you tend to get the rewards it deserves. In the UK or the US, it is much easier for the quality campaigns to be lost among the bad digital practices that can be found all over the web.

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Easy Instagram Marketing Tips For Gaining Real-Time Results

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With time, Instagram is turning out to be an engaging and quite popular social media application. With more than 8 billion registered accounts, it is one of the best social media platforms, proven for brand building and marketing. Around 80 million photos are uploaded in this platform on a daily basis making it a huge active user base. So, if you are planning to run your business with Instagram by your side, you have make way for the right decision. But first, you need to know about easy Instagram marketing tips for gaining real results.

Switch to Instagram business profile:

Before embarking in Instagram marketing journey, you have to be in business account. There are some obvious benefits to switch into business profile.

  • Apart from visiting your website, followers can click on contact button to get in direct touch with your business team.
  • You will get an easy access to the analytics tool straight from Instagram called Insights. Here, you get to see some stats like content reach, impressions and more.
  • You can also create and even publish some Instagram ads without quite depending on advertising tools.

Leveraging some sponsored ads:

Those companies using Instagram advertisement are always on rise. Even the numbers of advertisers is surpassing some of the popular social media platforms like that of Twitter previous year. These points give you reason to actually head for ways to gain more instagram followers these days.Apart from the fact that Instagram has strong 700 million base users, there are some other reasons to head towards this plan.

  • As Facebook and Instagram are connected, you can easily use FB advertising experience for targeting Instagram audience better.
  • Straight from budgeting to creating ads, you get the chance to manage everything about Instagram ads in FB ad manager.
  • These advertisements are non-intrusive and engaging, which will help gaining better conversion rate at lower cost.
  • You will have the creative freedom to use videos and images both for promoting service or product. These ads are quite hard to miss as they occupy the entire mobile device screen.

Partnering with targeted influencers:

If you are planning to reach out to potential customers on Instagram, you can try leveraging influencers already worked on ways to build an audience. With so many people and their being depended on Instagram based feed, it will always vital to get into a partnership with right influencers. It will definitely help your brand to be at the front of the list.

Instagram influencers are known to be power users, with loyal and large follower base that trusts recommendations. If you are planning on ways to make your influencer marketing campaign a successful notion on Instagram, you have to partner with influencers with great and highly relevant audience to product.

Once you know the best ways to use Instagram for marketing strategies, there is no need to look for other names in the market. You can easily use the Instagram skills to improve marketing strategies, resulting in a proper business growth. Just follow the marketing tips with utmost concentration.

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Cranes: Pros and Cons to Consider

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Cranes come in different forms, and they come with different functions as well. If you have a project and are thinking of hiring a crane, it’s essential that the crane you choose is the proper fit for your requirements. Making the wrong decision can result in time lost and financial resources wasted, after all. The first step to making the right decision is to learn about their different uses and functionalities. Here, then, is a look at the pros and cons of the various kinds of cranes.

A proper look at static cranes

Static cranes, as the name implies, are cranes that don’t really move, as confirmed by the experts in crane hire, www.aphcranes.co.uk. They are categorised by the fact that they remain in one place during the duration of use. Here are some examples:

  • The tower crane is fixed on the ground, but it can also be attached to a structure’s side. Tower cranes are used in tall building construction, and they are capable of lifting and loading the heaviest objects. They are the tallest crane available, although tower cranes are quite expensive and require a lot of time and effort to be installed.
  • The level luffing crane is equipped with a special feature – the hook of the crane is especially designed to stay at a level that is constant. Only the jib arm of the crane will be moved away or towards the crane’s base. The crane can be easily operated at a level that is fixed, and the materials can be more easily loaded with precision. One aspect to note, however, is that the crane requires more time when performing lifting movements.

A proper look at mobile cranes

The mobile crane has a telescopic boom which is attached to a platform. It comes in an array of sizes and shapes, and some of the most popular mobile cranes include the vehicle-mounted crane, the all-terrain crane, and the telescopic handler. Mobile cranes are quicker and easier to set up compared to static cranes, and they’re ideal for indoor jobs. They are also a cheaper alternative to static cranes, and are more flexible as well.

  • The truck-mounted crane is set up on a truck, and it is highly mobile. It can also be rotated to as much as 360 degrees, but it can often move quite slowly around a site.
  • The rough terrain crane is designed especially for rough or off-road surfaces, and this is one of its premier advantages. It is also a stable crane, and it can move effectively around different surfaces. One drawback to this crane, however, is that it cannot be taken on a public motorway.

It is in your best interest to properly consult with a crane hire service so they can give you expert advice on the best choice for your project.

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