Concerned about the rising price of wheat? So is Bethany, who asks:
I wondered if you’re planning to stock up on extra flour before the wheat prices get too high. I’d love to hear your opinion about bulk buying while you’re feeding only two, like I do.
From the AP:
"Poor wheat harvests in Australia and parts of Europe and the U.S. have caused China and other Asian countries to buy up more American crops, which are especially attractive because of the weak U.S. dollar.
"At the same time, the American crop is shrinking because of federal incentives to grow corn for ethanol. And skyrocketing gas prices make it costlier to get any wheat to market. Those same pressures have also made it more expensive to supply feed grains for livestock."
Oh, good grief. If it isn’t one thing, it’s something else, isn’t it?
So, there’s a high demand from the rest of the world and a diminished supply. Basic economics…prices are going to go up.
"Wheat historically trades at $3 to $7 a bushel.But this week, futures of spring wheat — which produces the flour used in hearth breads, rolls, croissants, bagels and pizza crust — were close to $18 a bushel on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange. They climbed as high as $24 in late February.
"Consumers pay an additional penny on wheat products for each dollar the price-per-bushel increases."
Watch out, now!
To answer Bethany’s initial question regarding flour: I’d say if you have the storage space, desire, and room in the budget, go ahead and stock up on flour if it’s something you normally use a lot. If you can’t remember the last time you cooked or baked with flour, then you probably don’t need to stock up too much. Maybe buy a 5-lb. sack and put it in your freezer.
I don’t use much flour, though I would like to start baking my own bread, if I ever get around to it. So, I’ll probably pick up a few more sacks while the prices are still down.
And, if I can get enough flour or whole wheat for flour now, I could bake bread at much cheaper than the store-bought version.
Expect most food prices to go up.
Look in your pantry, fridge and freezer. How much of it has something to do with flour? Maybe it’s a direct by-product of wheat. Those foods will be hit hard.
Do you like grain-fed cows? Maybe farmers can feed them corn or something (I dunno what cows eat, really. Anyone wanna help me out?). Anyway, if your meat sources eat wheat, prices will go up there, too. That could include milk and cheese, too.
Same for wheat-fed chickens. Eggs and well, chicken meat could go up in price.
The price of an extra-large cheese and ground beef pizza could go up quite a bit, wouldn’t ya say?
More likely though, in my opinion, groceries and restaurants will end up raising prices on most things, to offset the really expensive price hikes.
The bottom line:
Don’t panic. It’s easy to freak out anytime gas prices go up, or any random commodity spikes in price. It’s really going to be fine. Stock up on items if you have room in your budget, and just keep on being frugal.