The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Why are wheat berries more expensive than flour?

prof_stack's picture

Why are wheat berries more expensive than flour?

Wheat berries shouldn't cost more than flour, rignt?  If that isn't right, I'd sure like an education as to why.

Today I stopped in at Cash and Carry in Seattle and checked out the prices on 50# bags of flour.  Bleached, unbleached, whole wheat (no additives either), seminola, etc.  One such bag was marked at $10.95 and the others were between $12 and $18 (although the seminola was higher than that, I think). 

I have bought bags of flour from them and have been satisfied.  But now, armed with Nutrimill and Bosch mixer, I can't find wheat berries for much less than $1 per pound.  Something seems a-miss.

The best local price I have found is through a 10% bag discount for WheatMontana Hard Red or Prairie Gold which would make it about 90 cents per pound.

A local feed store said their wheat was feed grade and not designed for human consumption. 

Any suggestions?  Thanks.

DerekL's picture

Lower demand = lower turnover = special handling = higher price.

althetrainer's picture

I don't know about any other locations, but where we live (weatern Canada) I can get 22 pounds (10K) of generic whole wheat flour for as little as $6.29.  That's $0.29 per pound.  I could get winter hard wheat in the LDS cannery, a 25-lb bag of hard winter wheat (non organic) for $5.60; it works out to $0.23 per pounds.  (According to the LDS website US price list it's $5.90 for 25 pounds).  Definitely not more expensive than flour.  Organic berries on the other hand cost a lot more.  If you don't care about organic, try a local LDS cannery and you may have better luck.  Al

LeadDog's picture

A local feed store said their wheat was feed grade and not designed for human consumption.

I got a different reply from my local feed store.  They said they can't sell it as anything but feed grade because of government regulation but the grain wouldn't hurt you.  What are going to do to it that would be bad for humans but not animals?  Remember you are going to cook the flour too and that will kill anything you need to worry about.

Kroha's picture

They are a rare grower/seller.  .55 a lb, but you also pay for shipping.  I have to buy nut-free, so I did not do much comparison-shopping price-wise.  Depending on where you are in the country, it might make sense to you.  Shipping rates are reasonable.

Good luck!



prof_stack's picture

I went to Central Market north of Seattle and got a 25# bag of organic Utah hard red spring berries for 90 cents per pound.  I can also order WheatMontana Prairie Gold or hard red berries in bulk bags for 72 cents per pound.  Those prices reflect a 10% discount for bulk bags. 

The Whole Foods chain of stores wants my WHOLE wallet to buy at their expensive prices.  :)

Tonight my father-in-law commented how good the bread rolls tasted and asked if the flour was from the new flour mill (Nutrimill).