The price of durum wheat has mushroomed by approximately 90%, thanks to poor weather that is expected to affect the quality and yield of the 2021 harvest. Canada – the world’s leading durum wheat producer – has experienced extreme heat and scarce rainfall since seeding.
Canada’s 2021 durum wheat harvest has been revised down by more than one-third from 5 million tonnes to only 3.4 million tonnes, sparking speculation that there will not be enough durum wheat for the demand that exists globally.
Poor weather in Europe is also affecting the harvest, with French wheat, in particular, experiencing a poor year due to excessive rain.
Durum is the second most cultivated species of wheat after common wheat. It is ground down into semolina to make a number of products like pasta, polenta, couscous, breads, pizza crusts and some sweet goods.
Eurostar Commodities – a UK family-owned ingredients specialist – has warned this will have a knock-on effect on prices at retail level.
Shortages, spikes and substitution
“The market is completely out of control and as a result there has been an approximately 90% increase in raw material prices as well as increases in freight,” said Jason Bull, director of Eurostar Commodities.
“This is a dire situation hitting all semolina producers and all buyers of durum wheat across the globe. Companies are buying at record high prices and farmers are holding onto wheat and driving the price up.
“We expect to see shortages on supermarket shelves and increasing prices which will ultimately be passed onto consumers. We may also see substitutions whereby pasta will be produced with soft wheat flour rather than hard durum wheat.”