Wheat Prices Go Sky High

In the last half of 2007, the price of wheat rose sharply to land just shy of $10 per bushel. This compares with a price of $4.75 a year ago and the long-term average price of $3.60, reports Bill Lapp, president of Advanced Economic Solutions in Omaha, Neb. The rise in prices reflects an extremely tight global supply. Domestic wheat stocks fell to their lowest level in 60 years, according to the U.S.D.A., and world production fell short due to last year’s poor weather conditions in Europe and Australia.

“The wheat market is driving up the price of our base item—the roll,” says Jeff Perkins, director of marketing and franchising for Amato’s sandwich chain in Portland, Maine. “Even owning our own bakery doesn’t help much.” He’s not alone in his complaints—every sandwich concept is feeling the pinch, trying to absorb costs in the short term. Ultimately, operators say they will have to raise menu prices. The fillings are going up as fast as the bread, with chicken and dairy seeing the biggest price increases.  “Our customer would rather pay more and get the same quality sandwich than have us decrease the size of the roll or the filling,” Perkins adds. Most high-end sandwich restaurants are on the same page.

But wheat prices could slide back down in 2008, Lapp predicts. “If weather cooperates, world wheat production is projected to bounce back sharply due to expanded acreage and better yields,” he notes. “If that happens, prices should recede toward $5 to $7 per bushel.” That’s still above historic levels but a little easier on the wallet.

Product cutting:

Par-baked multigrain mini baguette

Led by Tim Konacek

Director of Quality and R&D, Signature Breads

Chelsea, Massachusetts

1. Open the case.
All the breads should be consistent in size and shape. Consistency is very important for a sandwich roll.

2. Examine the product in its frozen state. Par-baked breads should look a little wrinkly and pale in color.

3. Bake off the roll. Use the equipment normal to your operation—either a convection or regular oven. Bake according to timing on package, but take some product out a little sooner and some a little later. Certain customers prefer a lighter, softer crust, others want a darker, crispy exterior. Stick with the timing that works best for your operation.

4. Judge the appearance of the bread. The crust should crisp up and brown. Split the roll horizontally, leaving it attached on one side. The crumb should look moist and you should see speckles of grain inside; the hinge of the roll should hold together to make a good sandwich.

5. Taste the bread. The flavor should be fresh with toasted wheat and slight nutty notes from the grain. Notice a little sweetness from the addition of honey and molasses.

More From FoodService Director

Sponsored Content
fish tacos

From High Liner Foods.

Younger consumers are driving an increased focus on sustainability, and more consumers overall are demanding a wider variety of seafood on menus. With shifting interest in seafood, operators need to be familiar with the seafood consumer—who they are, what they’re looking for and when they eat it—to more effectively boost interest in seafood dishes.

Understand consumer habits

Technomic’s 2017 Center of the Plate: Seafood & Vegetarian report finds that 65% of consumers eat seafood at least occasionally (once every 90 days or more), either as an...

Industry News & Opinion

The Missouri House of Representatives has initially approved a bill that would enable students with dietary issues to forgo mandatory meal plans at public colleges and universities, U.S. News reports.

Approved Tuesday, the bill would grant students with medical documentation of food sensitivities, food allergies or medical dietary issues the right to opt out of meal plans.

Supporters of the bill say it will allow students to not have to pay for food they can’t safely eat, while opponents say that the bill will negatively impact schools financially. According to legislative...

Industry News & Opinion

A study released by Sodexo indicates that gender-balanced management improves team performance.

The 2018 study is an expansion of a previous Sodexo study that launched in 2014. The expanded study analyzed 50,000 managers in all levels of management from 70 entities around the world over five years.

The study found that teams managed by 40% to 60% women had better employee and client retention, saw fewer workplace accidents and increased their operating margins and employee engagement.

Industry News & Opinion

Rick Farmer, executive chef for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., and Stephanie Powers, executive chef of Spring Harbor, a retirement community in Columbus, Ga., were crowned the winners of MenuDirections’ 2018 Culinary Competition.

Split into teams of two, chefs had 60 minutes to prepare and plate their own entrees using a preselected basket of ingredients such as beans, mushrooms and orange sauce. Each dish was judged on its presentation, taste and creativity.

The winning dish was orange glazed pork with a black bean and wild mushroom cake topped...

FSD Resources