OK, as a die-hard fan of eating and cooking Thai curries, I was saddened to read the news today:
NZ faces drought in coconut milk
A global shortage of coconut milk is expected to be felt here over the next two years.
But one of the biggest importers....doesn't expect it to be as bad as in the UK where supermarkets have been running out and some restaurants have been forced to change their menus.
Manassen Foods Australia development manager ...said the impact could already be seen in New Zealand.
"It started out as a severe flood in the southern region of Thailand, it wiped out half the crop of coconut trees and, when they started to recover, many of the trees got an infestation that compounded the issue," he said.
"It will take a good two years to recover from that flooding."
He said Australian and New Zealand consumers would feel the impact. "Prices have firmed up, the level of discounting has disappeared. You won't see the shelves devoid, but you won't see the level of specials or discounting that we have had.
"It will just be more scarce and more expensive." ...
Full article here: http://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/food-wine/5132808/NZ-faces-drought-in-coconut-milk
Thank goodness we are near the Pacific Islands - I believe they are another source of coconut milk for NZ, so my Thai cooking does not need to come to an abrupt end! And maybe it's an opportune time to try some new recipes.
It's interesting how not so long ago, the floods were a (warranted) topic for discussion of concern by travellers on this site. Now several months on, it's interesting to read of the long-distance ramifications of the floods.
Another factor may be increased demand, at least here in the states, where coconut water is a big fad in health food and other stores. A 600 ml can sells for about US $2 and is on back order at a few of the stores we frequent. It is delicous.
I actually noticed the price had gone up recently in my local Chinese supermarket. I will have to go back and stock up now! I wonder what their reaction will be when I buy 30 cans?
I haven't noticed any change in restaurant menu's though (or a reduction in sauce/thinning) so not sure how accurate that one is currently.
I bet they call you Scrooge at Xmas, Mac! :-) I guess you won't mind sending some my way if we run out!
I was being a bit frivolous when posting this, but I was sincere about the comments about the ramifications of the floods. And I'm not just referring to NZ running out of coconut milk, as awful as that thought is. But we often forget about ongoing affects of such tragedies - people's livelihoods are seriously affected. We are seeing the same thing here in NZ with the earthquakes in Christchurch although at there is some element of government assistance and insurance coverage for people.
Reading the article just gave me a moment to pause and reflect....