Thursday, April 24, 2008

I don't get it...

There's been some, but not much, coverage of massive food shortages and food-riots recently, such as in Haiti and elsewhere, but could the same thing happen here?

The US is obviously nowhere near that stage yet, but we are beginning to see some ominous signs. According to Reuters yesterday, we're beginning to run low on basic ingredients, such as flour and wheat.
Already feeling the pinch from soaring wheat and flour prices, U.S. bakers are now beginning to experience some supply shortages.

Rye flour stocks have been depleted in the United States, and by June or July there will be no more U.S. rye flour to purchase, said Lee Sanders, senior vice president for government relations and public affairs at the American Bakers Association.


For bakers, rye grain is not the only supply stock that is declining. In the past the market has typically had a three-month surplus of wheat stocks to serve as a cushion against supply interruptions, but now the surplus is down to less than 27 days worth of wheat, Sanders said.
Meanwhile, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, apparently the US is now beginning to have runs on food suppliers:
[I]n the US, now major discounters are seeing runs on products, particularly rice, as both Sam's club, the Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operated discounter, and Costco Wholesale Corp. have seen shelves cleaned out of rice as consumers worry about higher prices.
Sam's Club has decided to put limits (or rations, if you will) on the amount of 20-pound bags customers can purchase every week, and Costco earlier this week said it was considering such limits as well.
As the cost of basics like rice, wheat, corn and soybeans are reaching record highs, will the "developed" countries begin to really be hurt by this? When was the last time that major food wholesalers had enacted rationing policies? And how is more attention not being paid to this?

This isn't just happening "over there" anymore...

No comments: