This is a simple premise, that I think could yield a lot of interesting interactions - especially in areas that wouldn't be obvious straight away.

In a current-day Earth, what (if any) large-scale knock-ons would reasonably happen if somebody bought and destroyed, all available/traded apples?

That is, a multi-billionaire decides to buy-out, as rapidly as possible, every single apple that is being traded and every apple future on the stockmarket. (Note, they do not buy all apples currently on stock in shops, street-markets or grown in people's homes - they are focused on the global-scale apple trades, and bulk shipments of apples).

They can be assumed to have just-enough money to achieve their goal for one year, noting that at current prices the apple export business is estimated at around $8.3B

The kinds of implications I'm looking for are large-scale - especially with chain events that would reasonably be caused by this event. For example, the loss of medicine that is reliant on apples (if any exists), war breaking out if there is a reasonable argument for it (apple production is not spread evenly across the globe), or the loss of some related industry that also causes other issues (e.g. loss of plastic = loss of single-use needles for vaccines, is there a similar situation for apples?)

Answers should be backed up where possible, with examples of previous historical shortages of a single commodity.

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    $\begingroup$ Can you narrow down your question a bit more? "What would happen if" is rather broad. I just had an apple as snack, and not having it would have upset me. Do you want to know this kind of info for each of the 7 billion earthlings? $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Jul 4, 2018 at 8:51
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    $\begingroup$ This seems like a P-O-B question as it presumes to ask us our opinion on what we think would happen given a certain set of circumstances. VoteToClose! $\endgroup$
    – Raisus
    Jul 4, 2018 at 8:57
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    $\begingroup$ Samsung would finally achieve world domination! Oh wait.. $\endgroup$
    – Jonnyboy
    Jul 4, 2018 at 8:58
  • $\begingroup$ @Raisus I've updated to narrow this down. I feel it should be less opinion based now, as there have been previous shortages of single commodities in history - and extrapolating from those is reasonable. In this case, it's "what if that commodity was apples?". $\endgroup$
    – Bilkokuya
    Jul 4, 2018 at 9:04
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    $\begingroup$ @elemtilas, that is the funniest thing in the world because I used to live in Silverton, ID, which was in the Hunt brother's back pocket and is still feeling the afteraffects of what they did. Now, if the OP was that specific (Tell me how one mining region might be affected by a nearly successful bid to take over the silver market), that would be well enough scoped for me. $\endgroup$
    – JBH
    Jul 5, 2018 at 3:29

2 Answers 2


Right now there's a crippling shortage of food grade CO2 in the UK market.

It's going to be a couple of weeks before the system is back up to speed but it's having some unexpected knock on effects. I first heard about this when one of my friends informed me that one of their soft drink suppliers had had to shut down production. This sort of thing is expected, the pubs then stopped serving soft drinks on tap, using only bottled stock, conserving their CO2 to be able to keep serving beer.

The news then started rolling in about other unexpected issues, meat supplies, baked goods all at risk. CO2 is used for packaging and production in a wide variety of food industries.

The effect of taking all the apples out of supply is surprisingly different.
Firstly, they're not out of production like the CO2, they're out of supply.

Primary suppliers don't get into trouble, their stock is grown, shipped and sold, just to a different market, or not. Many small producers never put their apples onto the open market, they grow the apples and make the cider themselves. Others will be rejoicing that all their stock is sold and at a good price, it'll be a bumper year for the orchards.

Major consumers of apples will have bought their stock in futures, they'll still have their supplies as they have already been bought and paid for, the contracts for this could run for years. There'll be reduced supplies over a couple of years, but no great dip due to ongoing contracts.

Prices for apples will rise, but supermarkets will still have stock. Large drinks manufacturers will still have supplies. Small scale artisan brewers, fruit juice and pie makers, along with the small retailers will suffer.

A couple of years of bad weather may have more of an impact on the market as that will put a real dent in apple production rather than supply.

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    $\begingroup$ Very Good answer, also worth mentioning that in the event that this mutli-billionaire decided to do this long term for whatever reason, then the eventual but gradual rise in apple prices will eventually make him go bankrupt. And that is likely to happen long before there is a real effect on the major markets. i just feel sorry for the micro-breweries. $\endgroup$ Jul 4, 2018 at 10:02

Not much unless he controls the law

as someone who knows people who own an apple farm I can tell you that a lot of the market is closed house buying (meaning anyone can buy but some are booked in before anyone else gets the new stock). what I'm saying is even if a big apple buyer wanted all the apples, the seller would not give him all of them (the most loyal customers come first). Unless he has changed the law to force them. (around the world unlikely). so the price of apple would go up but (at least locally) the market would stay stable (most of the food industry have these laws in place for just that reason)

an example say a local drink brand sells apple cider but another rival drink seller sells apple cider too. If they buy all the local apples the rival will go out of business (but the apple seller can’t sell the entire apple stock if they have a contract with the other buyer and if they did the law will come knocking very soon.


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