Food prices in an upward spiral

At the Attos bakery, boulevard Saint-Marcel, in Paris, the price of the traditional baguette has dropped this summer from 1.20 to 1.30 euros. Or almost 8% increase. If all the artisan bakers have not taken this step, the case is not isolated. It is a good illustration of the pressure of increases in raw materials on food prices.

The trend in the price of common wheat, prized by baguette and pastries manufacturers, is, in this respect, exemplary. In mid-August, the ton of golden beans, delivered to Rouen, was negotiated at more than 250 euros. Unheard of since January 2013. Even if it declined somewhat in September, the price shows an increase of nearly 25% in one year.

But the spirits were especially heated this summer on a risk of shortage of durum wheat, and therefore on a surge in its price. It also jumped by more than 20%, reaching 335 euros per tonne, delivered to La Pallice (Charente-Maritime). Industrial pasta makers sounded the alarm in August to try to obtain a renegotiation of prices from large retailers.

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Wheats are not the only ones to see their price ignite. Barley, soybeans, rapeseed, sugar, coffee or fruit are all sucked into a bullish spiral just as much. The meteorological hazards, with the heat wave recorded in Canada, the drought and then the frost in Brazil, the too abundant rains and the frost in France, have disrupted harvest hopes. Added to this is sustained demand with the economic recovery.

Exploding sea freight costs

As a sign of this global surge in prices, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) announced in early September that its world food price index had started to rise again in August after two months. fallback. It posted a 32% jump in one year, driven by cereals, oils and sugar. It is approaching the highest of the year, reached in May, and the all-time high, recorded in February 2011.

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But the food industry is not only worried about the jump in the prices of agricultural raw materials. They are also suffering from the sudden increase in the price of packaging, whether it is cardboard or aluminum. The National Association of Food Industries (ANIA), after conducting a survey among its members, estimates that it is between 12% and 24%. It also highlights the increase in logistics prices, with an explosion in sea freight costs.

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