Summer 2013

We've seen moderate price increases over the past year, driven as ever by energy and transport costs. Sufficient stocks are to hand to meet anticipated demand and supplies can be readily replenished from all manufacturers at short order. UK tablet salt manufacturing seems to be having a run of good reliability, in contrast to previous periods of scarcity of product caused by a combination of unscheduled maintenance and delays in re-commissioning plant after scheduled shut downs.

Imports from outside the EU still leave question marks over provenance and purity, specially for those unbranded products made from sea salt rather than pure dried vacuum salt as a base. Issues reported include crystals "growing out" of tablets and welding together in brine tanks, and the familiar yellow / brown scum caused by impurities in the brine. This is bad news, specially for the high performance resins found in todays water softeners which demand high purity salt.

OUR ADVICE IS TO ENSURE THAT SALT FOR YOUR WATER SOFTENER COMPLIES WITH BS EN 973:2002. WE GUARANTEE THAT ALL OUR WATER SOFTENER SALT MEETS THIS STANDARD.

Rock salt has had excellent availability over winter 2012/13 with UK stocks high and none of the shortages seen in previous years. We may see "opportunistic sellers" exiting the market having failed to make the fast buck they'd hoped for in tough trading conditions.

An interesting growth area over the last several years has been crafted rock salt, imported chiefly from Pakistan in the form of lump salt, bowls, tea light holders and salt lamps. This follows from the trend for gourmet edible salts, from sea salts, pink rock salt from the Himalayas to salt bearing traces of other minerals or combined with spices or herbs for use as novel condiments or cooking ingredients. Although the tonnage must be very small, it's a very high margin sector.