Why not just have them on Good Friday?

The nation is facing a shortage of hot cross buns this year. There is a simple solution to this. We should all eat fewer of them. Something that the market system will ensure as it happens, the lack of sultanas, raisins and currants (there is apparently a difference between these, not one we know) means their price is higher. Thus bakers are charging us more for the Easter comestibles containing them – higher prices mean we’ll buy fewer. Good, job solved and no task forces, regulations or intervention required.

You know, markets do in fact work. How excellent that we use markets then:

EASTER shoppers may not be happy bunnies this year as the price of traditional Hot Cross Buns are likely to rise in the near future.

The cost of the tasty Easter tea-time treat is set to rocket as the cost of dried fruits – such as raisins, sultanas and currants – is set to soar.

The solution is already baked into the system and nothing more need to be done.

Bakeries are facing higher costs for the dried fruits due to the crop shortages – US raisin prices have risen by 50 per cent since September.

Farmers have been producing fewer and fewer sultanas, currants and raisins and focusing on other crops due to low profits over the past few years.

But the situation has reportedly been exacerbated by a heatwave.

No, this is not something that can be solved by the usual Caroline Lucas bleating, that we should make more at home. The British climate doesn’t produce the three, derived as they are from grapes and dry weather. As Adam Smith pointed out we can manage grapes even in Scotland but dry weather is in short supply on our isles. We can also use this as an argument against locally produced food – that we get to celebrate a bloke being nailed to a cross through the glories of international trade. Something which gives us a clue as to what a useful cure for this ailment is.

The hot cross bun is, traditionally, for Good Friday only. Instead of the rolling season of months either side of it that we’re used to in this modern cornucopia. So, let us be traditionalist about it, only eat the buns on the day of the buns. Yes, of course, it’s obviously better that we be able to eat as we wish when we do so but hard times make for hard choices. Teacakes until March 29, hot cross buns the next day and we’re done, aren’t we?

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40 COMMENTS

  1. It might be a good idea to not advertise them until after January 1 but horses for courses.

    Will we eat fewer of them? I guess it depends on the costs of the dried grapes to the buns as a whole. I would have thought it was tiny compared to the labour, the distribution and the retailing. In which case we would hardly change.

    So I am sure they will figure something else out. In the meantime worrying about the currants seems interesting but aside from the main event. We do grow grapes in the UK and we could get a giant heater to dry them if we felt like it. But how are we going to get the nutmeg and cinnamon?

    (If I remember correctly, a raisin is large and moist, a sultana is smaller and drier, and a currant is very small and very dry. But I may be wrong. I would also note that the US is not the only place in the world that grows grapes. Perhaps even people who write for the Sun are aware of grape-related products from places such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and even Chile)

  2. A quick calculation based on online recipe and supermarket research suggests a dried fruit cost of 2p per hot cross bun for the home baker. One must assume lower costs for a commercial enterprise. So it’s not really going to make that much difference.

    Sainsbury’s cheapest hot cross buns are 60p for a pack of 4. Presumably with the dried fruit crisis costs built in.

    Not really a story… But it has made me rather fancy a hot cross bun, which I suppose is the point.

  3. Has anybody counted or weighed the dried fruit in this year’s offering and compared to last year’s? Quite often the response of food manufacturers to the increase in some inputs is to use fewer and if possible use substitution rather than put up prices. As a last resort they may even make slightly smaller buns to maintain the same price.

      • I did register, still never got my starter-wheels password by email, can’t re-do because Spike is now taken.

        My posts are showing up but with hours of delay. If you are moderating forums, that’s fine–I see that your troll visited the old website over the weekend. Auto-moderation and instant visibility should be another perk of registering, as you can sanction abusers individually.

          • If you’d get punched for saying it in a pub then it’s abuse. That still depends upon which pub of course but a useful enough guide.

          • Not really, it depends who’s in the pub. Most of the people I know wouldn’t hit anyone for saying anything. Some people I know would hit you for: “Are you looking at me, pal?”

            It means the most dangerously unstable nutter present in any gathering defines the speech code. That could prove interesting…

            Thanks though.

  4. It might be a good idea to not advertise them until after January 1 but horses for courses.

    Will we eat fewer of them? I guess it depends on the costs of the dried grapes to the buns as a whole. I would have thought it was tiny compared to the labour, the distribution and the retailing. In which case we would hardly change.

    So I am sure they will figure something else out. In the meantime worrying about the currants seems interesting but aside from the main event. We do grow grapes in the UK and we could get a giant heater to dry them if we felt like it. But how are we going to get the nutmeg and cinnamon?

    (If I remember correctly, a raisin is large and moist, a sultana is smaller and drier, and a currant is very small and very dry. But I may be wrong. I would also note that the US is not the only place in the world that grows grapes. Perhaps even people who write for the Sun are aware of grape-related products from places such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand and even Chile)

  5. A quick calculation based on online recipe and supermarket research suggests a dried fruit cost of 2p per hot cross bun for the home baker. One must assume lower costs for a commercial enterprise. So it’s not really going to make that much difference.

    Sainsbury’s cheapest hot cross buns are 60p for a pack of 4. Presumably with the dried fruit crisis costs built in.

    Not really a story… But it has made me rather fancy a hot cross bun, which I suppose is the point.

  6. Has anybody counted or weighed the dried fruit in this year’s offering and compared to last year’s? Quite often the response of food manufacturers to the increase in some inputs is to use fewer and if possible use substitution rather than put up prices. As a last resort they may even make slightly smaller buns to maintain the same price.

      • I did register, still never got my starter-wheels password by email, can’t re-do because Spike is now taken.

        My posts are showing up but with hours of delay. If you are moderating forums, that’s fine–I see that your troll visited the old website over the weekend. Auto-moderation and instant visibility should be another perk of registering, as you can sanction abusers individually.

          • If you’d get punched for saying it in a pub then it’s abuse. That still depends upon which pub of course but a useful enough guide.

          • Not really, it depends who’s in the pub. Most of the people I know wouldn’t hit anyone for saying anything. Some people I know would hit you for: “Are you looking at me, pal?”

            It means the most dangerously unstable nutter present in any gathering defines the speech code. That could prove interesting…

            Thanks though.

  7. MC – “A quick calculation based on online recipe and supermarket research suggests a dried fruit cost of 2p per hot cross bun for the home baker.” yes overheard at the local playground that the buns themselves have only gone from one a penny to two a penny. OK 100% increase but still good value.

  8. MC – “A quick calculation based on online recipe and supermarket research suggests a dried fruit cost of 2p per hot cross bun for the home baker.” yes overheard at the local playground that the buns themselves have only gone from one a penny to two a penny. OK 100% increase but still good value.

  9. ‘…sultanas, raisins and currants (there is apparently a difference between these, not one we know…’

    Sultanas and raisins are two varieties of white grapes…. thus vine-grown. The one used for raisins darkens when dried, the one used for sultanas stays a pale golden colour when dried and is sweeter than raisins.

    Currents are not dried grapes, but a dried berry… thus grown on a bush.

  10. ‘…sultanas, raisins and currants (there is apparently a difference between these, not one we know…’

    Sultanas and raisins are two varieties of white grapes…. thus vine-grown. The one used for raisins darkens when dried, the one used for sultanas stays a pale golden colour when dried and is sweeter than raisins.

    Currents are not dried grapes, but a dried berry… thus grown on a bush.