This is part of the Globe’s “Grape Nuts Risks” series, a series in which Globe journalists explore a wide range of issues with nut prices.
Grape nuts are the mainstay of the world’s peanut and nut trade, accounting for around two-thirds of the global market for nuts, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
With a price of $1.40 a pound (roughly $2.50 in the UK), a pinch of grape nuts is worth about $3,500, according the Food and Drug Administration.
But if the nut shortage persists, a growing number of people are taking their nut consumption to the next level by opting for berries, berries of various varieties, and more berries.
“Grape and grapes are among the most popular fruits, and people are very much looking to add more berries to their diets,” said Julie D’Amico, an analyst at market research firm Euromonitor International.
D’Amica said consumers are also finding they can buy cheaper berries that have higher levels of antioxidants and health benefits than the ones they are familiar with.
Some berries are more nutritious than others, said D’Ammico.
For example, a banana is rich in vitamin C, but it has less antioxidants than the berries.
Some berries also contain higher levels (at least 50%) of beta-carotene, which is a natural compound that can help protect the eyes.
A fruit’s taste is also affected by its fruit type, said Dr. Lisa S. Koss, an associate professor of food science and nutrition at the University of Arizona.
Birds have been used for millennia to make wine and other drinks, but a recent study found that people tend to prefer apples and berries to grapes in certain regions, such as the US.
“People are finding out that they can eat fruit more and they’re enjoying more of it,” Koss said.
The US Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that about 3.4 million tons of apples and nearly 8.1 million tons (3.6 million metric tons) of berries are consumed annually, making it the worlds largest consumer of nuts.
While most of the fruit consumed in the US is from wild or homegrown varieties, many of the fruits are grown in China and India, where they are often grown in conditions that are not sustainable, said Steve Mink, an agricultural scientist with the University Of Georgia.
One of the key issues is that the fruit is not picked from a mature tree, said Mink.
In other words, fruit trees are typically planted in clusters of 1 to 2 to 10 trees and they are grown for their seed.
The seeds are then stored and picked from the fruit tree.
With more than half of the nation’s fruit grown in the U.S., growers in those countries must rely on cheaper seeds.
“There is a shortage of seeds in the United Kingdom,” said Munk, noting that fruit trees grow up to about 60 years.
In the U of A’s Department of Plant Science and Forestry, scientists are working to address this issue.
In addition to researching varieties of apples, berries, and nuts, the institute is developing a system that would make it easier to identify and harvest the fruit from a variety of trees.
Mink said it’s important to realize that nut prices will not always be low.
“We know that in the long term, there will be demand for these fruits,” she said.
“But I think it’s still too early to tell how that demand will manifest itself.”