Rooibos-lovers should prepare to part with a little more cash for their favorite leaf in 2014. Rooibos Limited has announced that prices are expected to rise 15% beginning in January due to the limited supply and increasing demand.
The price increase in the United States “will come in significantly below that level due to a more favorable exchange rate with the South African currency. This is good news for the consumer and will help keep sales of Rooibos moving upward in a positive direction,” said Hugh Lamond, President of Rooibos Ltd. USA Marketing.
Rooibos continues to show good growth in the North American market during 2013. “It is likely that retail sales will be up more than 20% in the US market alone,” according to Lamond. Rooibos Ltd. USA is the largest importer of Rooibos in North America.
Because rooibos grows in arid regions, the production is strongly influenced by the unpredictability of rainfall. The volume of rooibos harvested in 2013 did not meet previous expectations. Reports from the region also suggest that farmers have planted smaller crops within the past two to three years because of low prices. The reserve is quickly becoming depleted and while planting levels have now increased, the 2014 production is not expected to meet the global demand. Rooibos has become a popular beverage across the world, but the biggest growth continues to be in southern Africa.
The growing interest in rooibos has been clearly demonstrated by the recent legal battles over the use of the name. A French company made efforts to trademark the name rooibos for its products. South Africa had not previously made efforts to protect the name. In the past year, South Africa has registered rooibos under the Merchandise Marks Act. This will pave the way for an application to the European Union for certification as a specific geographic indicator.
Rooibos Limited has been supplying rooibos since 1954 and currently holds 70% of the worldwide market share in rooibos distribution.