The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Dude, whats with the flour prices?

chefrayw's picture
chefrayw

Dude, whats with the flour prices?

ok, I know why prices are going up.. so now that i have your attention, a serious question: i'm the chef for a large hotel, and oddly enough I am also the head baker. I have used many different flours over the years & I have used a number of KA flours with reasonable success. With the price of flour, coupled with the ever present necessity to be market competitive, i have been experimenting with a few lesser known flour's. Admittedly there is a difference. The nuances of wheat & their regional properties is a given. My question is why has KA increased 40+% and  the flour i am experimenting with has gone up .35 cents. ? After taking the obvious under close consideration... both are high gluten w/ simular protein, ash etc. characteristics. the flour i am toying with is from a mill in texas: morrisons diamond "M". i dont really like this flour but it is less than 1/2 the price. bagels & pizza dough, focaccia, bialy's.. it works. any ideas?

RFMonaco's picture
RFMonaco

get this flour?

carltonb's picture
carltonb

Ohhhh prices of baked good. Don't get me started.

Prices in September

for a 30lb bucket of liquid eggs was $.28, I now pay $.56

for Flour and I use 1000lbs a week went from $.23 to $.46 this last week. It is still going to increase by another $.10 according to my purveyor

for oil its up $.17 a lb

Walnuts went from $1.50lb in October, to  $5.00lb in January, Yesterday I paid $7.95.

 

This is all due to the commidity market and the new fuel industry, as well as selling much of the product at low ball prices over seas.

 

Thanks for the rant

Carlton Brooks CEPC, CCE Mesa, Arizona

chefrayw's picture
chefrayw

Ben e. kieth foods is the source for this flour. depending on where you live, you may or may not have access to this company. they are located in texas, oklahoma, new mexico, miss., la, ark & kansas. you could inquire @ 405.413.9375 or visit benekeith.com

Rosalie's picture
Rosalie

I think it depends on what your distributor's circumstances are.  In some places the additional costs have hit already, and in other places not.  But, rest assured, it's all going up.  If for no other reason than that fuel prices have gone up and everything - EVERYTHING - is costing more to transport.

Rosalie

holds99's picture
holds99

I'm going to do some experimenting with Gold Medal bread flour (brown bag).  Down here it's about half the price of K.A. flour and from the reports I've read it performs about the same.  A lot of the price of wheat has to do with supply and demand.  Many wheat farmers are now planting corn for ethenol.  Ethenol costs about much to produce as it sells for... Duhhh.  Go figure.  I think some folks in the upper echelons of the Dept. of Agriculture have been smoking some bad switch grass :-)  Anyway, where's Marie Antoinette when we really need her?

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

SteveB's picture
SteveB

I've recently begun baking with Gold Medal Harvest King flour after using KA AP flour almost exclusively.  The only difference that I've seen so far between the two is that the Harvest King seems to take a bit longer to hydrate.  Other than that, the performance so far seems comparable.

holds99's picture
holds99

SteveB,

Appreciate your post on Gold Medal.  It's always good to hear from someone who has had some experience with it.  Good Information.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

holds99's picture
holds99

You said you switched from KA AP to Gold Medal Harvest King so I wanted to pass this on to you.  I recently purchased two 5 lb. bags of Gold Medal Organic  All-Purpose Flour (Unbleached, Enriched-Pre-sifted) made from "Certified Organic Wheat" (pinkish tan bag with green ribbon near bottom of bag containing the word "Organic".  It's stamped "USDA Organic".  I have used up 1 bag and opened the second bag last night to make English muffins. 

I usually use KA AP or KA Bread Flour but saw this in the supermarket and decided to try a couple of 5 lb. bags.  It works great.  Believe it or not it's more expensive than KA by about 30 cents (US) per 5 lb. bag, at least here in North Florida.  I think KA AP (5 lbs.) is around US $3.89 around here and Gold Medal Organic AP is about $4.29 or thereabouts.  It produces great results and I'm going to keep on using it in place of KA.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

SteveB's picture
SteveB

Thanks for the info, Howard.  I'm in my flour experimentation phase right now and have just ordered a 25 lb. bag of Heartland Mill organic all-purpose flour.  It has a slightly lower protein content than KA all-purpose so I look forward to seeing how it handles and bakes. 

SteveB

www.breadcetera.com

nbicomputers's picture
nbicomputers

if the price keeps going up ill bet thouse farmers will be changing back to wheat real fast

holds99's picture
holds99

Norm,

Hope you're right about switching back to wheat.  The sooner the better.  Leave it to the petrolium industry to figure out a way to screw  up our flour supply.  I've been watching your posts with interest.  Hope all is well with you.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

ejm's picture
ejm

KA increased only 40+%?

The flour I buy (no-name unbleached allpurpose in 10kg bags) has recently doubled in price, going from just under Cdn$6 to just under Cdn$12. (That's 100% increase, yes?) I haven't even looked at the prices for name brand flour.... 

I just looked at the KA site and see that their unbleached allpurpose is roughly the same price as the flour I'm buying but that's BEFORE paying shipping and exchange rate. (I can't find the shipping charges on the KA site; I see that they offer free shipping on orders of over $100 but I'm not about to buy that much flour at one time.)

I too am hoping the farmers will make the switch back to wheat. The sooner the better.

Elizabeth, in Canada 

 

holds99's picture
holds99

Elizabeth,

Sometimes if you go through the motions of placing an on-line order then go to the checkout screen, before your order is actually placed, you can enter your zip code and address and it will caculate the shipping charges.  Then you can just cancel the order before entering credit card info.  That way you can figure out the shipping charges.  I have bought some French style flour, gluten, malt poweder, etc. from K.A. on line and their shipping charges are not all that bad, at least they weren't before oil went up to $110 U.S. per barrell.

Howard - St. Augustine, FL

syllymom's picture
syllymom

Elizabeth,  I too was shocked to see the price of no-name flour doubling.  I thought there was a mistake on the shelf price but alas it is true.  I'm not a professional baker but do enjoy baking all our bread and thought I was saving money at the same time too.  Perhaps not anymore. 

I think I will start another hobby.... growing my own wheat in th garden.  (hee, hee)

Sylvia, in Canada as well.

ejm's picture
ejm

Even with the price of no-name flour at what it is now, you're still likely to be saving money by baking your own bread. We rarely buy bread anymore - I have been making virtually all our bread for about 5 years now (or is it more??). However, occasionally, we do buy a loaf. The storebought loaves invariably have a mold problem.

-Elizabeth

siuflower's picture
siuflower

Hi Elizabeth,

 

I lived in the Regina, SK.  I known a few local farmers (personal friends) and they are alway wiling to sell you 50-100 lb of wheat or rye berry for a very low price. The trouble is you have to grind it yourself.  Start asking your friends if they know people that own a farm and buy from the farmer directly.

 

siuflower now living in Alabama 

Bella's picture
Bella

Isn't it funny that with much of the world's wheat production happening in our own backyard, we pay a premium for flour. Although the states are seeing an increase in price, we always seem to pay far more here in Canada. I would take caution ordering from the states though as you may find yourself with a bill for duty and gst when it arrives, plus the gov"t service charges for the process of billing you! This will be on top of the S&H that the company charges and likely they will not even know about it. This has been my experience lately. i paid an extra $20 for a $35 book ordered from NY on top of S&H, courtesy of the Canadian Gov't!

All the best,

B.

ejm's picture
ejm

Thanks for the cautionary note, Bella. (You really have to hand it to our  government for ensuring that they get their pound of flesh, don't you?) However, I had already nixed the idea of purchasing from KA. Even if the shipping charges are minimal, it's still more expensive than flour purchased here. Even if I had a US bank account so I could avoid the exchange rate. Not to mention that it seems ridiculous to be importing flour when wheat is grown in abundance on this side of the border.

siuflower wrote:

I lived in the Regina, SK.  I known a few local farmers (personal friends) and they are alway wiling to sell you 50-100 lb of wheat or rye berry for a very low price. The trouble is you have to grind it yourself.
50-100lbs!! I don't have room for even half that amount, even if I were willing to grind it! But I'll certainly keep this idea in mind if things really get out of hand.

-Elizabeth

P.S. I know that I could go through the motions of placing an order with KA, Howard. But I really shouldn't have to. It's ridiculous that they do not have their shipping charges clearly marked on their site. Also, I couldn't find how to purchase one 20 lb bag rather than four 5 lb bags (which should be less expensive because it's less packaging).
LindyD's picture
LindyD

Food Prices This article gives some explanation.

jansin62's picture
jansin62

Last time I ordered from KA (I live in Ottawa), they charged an extra $15.00 above their shipping rates for shipping to Canada.  Worked well - I ordered lots of stuff I can't find here, plus some flour.  The flour was great, but not necessarily worth going to the hassle to order over what I can get in my local health food store.  When the box arrived, several of the bags were broken, and they just sent new bags of flour (and paid for shipping) after my call.  One point - if you live close to the border, most supermarkets in the US carry KA flour in their everyday stock.  Not the speciality flours, but bread and all-purpose for sure.  And just last week I was in Seattle, and they had white whole-wheat at a whole foods.

 

Janice

 

ejm's picture
ejm

Thank you for giving an idea of the KA shipping charges across the border, Janice.

 

And I'll keep it in mind that KA flour is available in US supermarkets. I rarely use anything except unbleached all-purpose and whole wheat . It seems likely that both of those would be on most supermarket shelves.

 

-Elizabeth
 

Eli's picture
Eli

New information on the rising cost of food!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24127314

staff of life's picture
staff of life

I'll be the first to admit that I've complained about the rising price of flour.  It does pinch a bit, but I'm still buying it.  But when I compare our predicament here in the wealthy US to that of poorer countries, I feel ashamed that I've complained.   Here there is still food to buy, and there are options for the folks who can't afford to buy groceries.  I can't imagine what it must be like to not have the option of buying food because there's none to buy, or because the prices are now out of my reach.  I think (and I'm saying this as someone who is trying to make a living in the food profession) that we need to keep it all in perspective, and remember our fellow human beings who even now are enduring empty bellies. 

SOL

GrapevineTXoldaccount's picture
GrapevineTXolda...

http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2008/08/01/king-arthur-flour-lowers-the-price-grocery-retailers-pay-for-our-flours/

 I apologize if this has already been noted.  I was out here doing a bit of fun and read this news. 

 

amyv's picture
amyv

Also in Canada, but the store-brand organic wheat flour that I use at home has only gone up $1 per bag in the past few weeks, though I am pretty sure several years ago I only paid $2.99 or $3.99 for it and for the past year or so it's been around $5 a bag (and just within the last month or so gone up to $6.49!).  I never buy non-organic, so Id've never noticed that it doubled in price, I wonder if it has happened in Ontario, too? Is this only no name/store brands or have the others (Five Roses, etc.) gone up too?  And I wonder why non-organic flours are increasing in price more rapidly than organic...? I've noticed that rice and rice flour prices are getting very high, too.  25 kg bag of brown rice flour from the wholesale company is over $60!

ejm's picture
ejm

The remarkable thing is that name brand flours have gone up in price but they have not doubled. It is only the "noname" Loblaw's flour that doubled. It's still a few cents less expensive per kilo than the others but  not markedly less.  Unfortunately, at the store we buy our flour, noname is the only one that comes in 10 kg bags of unbleached all-purpose.

But I did notice that "Weston" brand has appeared suddenly in 5kg bags. (Same price as all the others.)

I can't help but think that whoever is packaging the noname flour is overcharging and pocketing the surplus.

-Elizabeth, in Toronto

Mini Oven's picture
Mini Oven

"I can't help but think that whoever is packaging the noname flour is overcharging and pocketing the surplus."

Or that maybe the name brands are holding the prices down in order to not loose customers.  Later they will slowly raise prices to make up for the difference while the new crop of flour is processed.  I would be willing to bet they have a higher profit margin on flour sold previously and therefore can buffer the brunt of the rising prices.  But only for a short time.

Mini O