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Soaring durum wheat prices would have ‘inevitable repercussions on the price of pasta’, said one supplier

Shoppers could be forced to fork out more for pasta in coming months, as adverse weather conditions push up global prices of durum wheat.

Production of durum wheat has fallen by as much as 20% year-on-year in Canada – the largest global exporter of the crop – due to “persistent heat and dry weather across the Prairies”, Mintec grains analyst Zanna Aleksahhina warned this week.

This would threaten supply to countries including Italy and France, which rely on Canadian imports as they “do not have enough domestic production to meet the demand”, Aleksahhina said.

The dry weather has also hit US production of durum wheat, which is down 10% year on year, she added.

As a result, market prices of the crop from Canada and the US have this month reached their highest peak in a year.

This has been compounded by ssues with quality in other durum-producing countries. “Italy, another major producer of durum wheat, is  facing poor quality issues after the excessive rain in the May-June period,” Aleksahhina said.

“Yields are relatively strong, but the low carry-out and poor quality of the crop will increase their reliance on high-quality imports.”

Giuseppe Vacca, commercial director for exports at pasta brand Pastificio Liguori, told The Grocer soaring commodity prices would have “inevitable repercussions on the price of pasta”.

However, Aleksahhina said it could be months before these price hikes were passed on to shoppers. “I think it depends on the timing when buyers are contracting these raw materials: some may be well covered for the next six to 12 months,” she explained.

Only eight durum wheat pasta SKUs across Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons have increased in price over the past 12 weeks, according to The Grocer analysis of Assosia data [w/e 23 August 2023].

Own Label Penne Pasta 500g has increased an average of 0% across the retailers over the last year according to The Grocer’s Key Value Items tracker, whilst own label Spaghetti Pasta 500g is 2% cheaper on average.