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

Industry News & Opinion

Amherst-Pelham Regional School District in Amherst, Mass., is updating its lunch debt policy to no longer single out students, MassLive reports.

Under the new policy, students with lunch debt will be given the same meals as their peers, regardless of how much they owe. School officials will also be communicating directly with parents of students who have accumulated debt instead of through the students themselves.

The updated policy comes just before U.S. school districts will be required to publicly list their lunch debt policies, per new USDA requirements starting July 1...

Menu Development
eureka

Since California’s state motto is “Eureka!” it seems fitting that a recent conversation with the director of hospitality at San Diego’s Palomar Health led to the biggest aha moment I’ve had in a long time.

I called Jim Metzger in late April with the purpose of discussing Palomar’s recent commitment to the goal of making 60% of its total menu plant-based by this summer. It seemed a lofty number, and I was curious how the public health system planned to get there.

But my personal eureka didn’t come while we were talking about how Palomar had cleaned up the impulse-buy zones...

Industry News & Opinion

Labeling foods with indulgent buzzwords such as “sweet sizzlin’” and “crispy” can lead consumers to make healthier food choices , according to a recent study out of Stanford University .

In the fall 2016 study, researchers labeled vegetables in one of the school’s dining halls using terms from four categories: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive or indulgent.

The green beans, for example, were listed as “green beans” for basic, “light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots” for healthy restrictive, “healthy energy boosting green beans and shallots” for healthy...

Ideas and Innovation
sparkling water

Our carbonated soft drink sales at Earls.67 reflect a national trend; we’re continually down on carbonated soft drink sales by 8% to 9% on an annual basis,” says Cameron Bogue, beverage director at the contemporary-casual chain Earls Kitchen + Bar.

The issue with spa water

Many operators are intrigued with the offering, but they are learning that infused water can’t be offered at a cost to guests unless there is added value beyond cut-up fruit. Bogue says, “I was adamant that I didn’t want to charge for spa water.”

Agua fresca alternatives

At the original location of

...

FSD Resources