You may not be interested in hearing about wheat prices — especially if you can’t have wheat and you don’t buy products with it.  But listen up — the extra cost in wheat could still trickle down to you.

Wheat price increases may still affect Gluten-Free

According to MarketWatch.com, “[Wheat] prices have surged 69% since hitting a three-year low June 9.”  This is because of a severe drought in Russia, which is expected bring the wheat crop down by an estimated 50%*.  Now this shortage is about to impact the consumer.

Sara Lee announced late last week it will  lift the prices “across a number of its meat categories.” So why does it affect you? Well it could if you eat Hillshire Farms Deli meat,  Jimmy Dean’s sausage or Ballpark Franks — all of which are owned by Sara Lee and have some gluten-free products.    The article on Marketwatch.com doesn’t go into detail about which meats they’ll increase the price on.

What’s more is that there’s a trickle-down effect that affects other foods, so says dailyfinance.com:

“One side effect of the wheat price rise is the possibility it will cause the price of other commodities like corn and soybeans, to climb too. If that happens, prices for beef, pork and chicken will also probably go up because corn and soybeans are widely used in animal feed.”

“If wheat supplies are down, then demand for the other commodities is going to go up,” says Christopher Shanahan, food industry analyst for San Antonio, Texas-based research firm Frost & Sullivan. “Prices of all commodities are impacted by wheat.”

The Telegraph out of the UK reported on this as well, quoting CommerzBank out of Germany,

“Meat prices have already risen this year, even before agricultural products, such as wheat or soya beans, increased in price. Another increase of meat prices might be imminent, if agriculturals ‘infect’ one another, similar to the years 2006 to 2008, and the strong price increases of wheat lead to rising prices of soya beans and corn, both of which are primarily used for the production of animal feed.”

So we gluten-free folks have not “dodged a bullet” with this latest consumer crisis.  One would think an upside to having celiac disease and not eating wheat would mean you could avoid these price increases.  Instead it appears the increase in wheat prices will trickle down to us all — one way or another — whether we eat it or not.

It will be interesting to watch this week to see if more companies announce price increases due to the wheat shortage.

*Source:  DailyFinance.com

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