Pasta supplies are set to run short by the summer, experts have warned.
Italian farmers, who provide wheat for 99% of all pasta products sold in the UK, are increasingly growing durum wheat for biofuel production rather than food, causing a shortfall in raw materials for pasta production and sending prices skywards.
The price of durum wheat has rocketed by two and a half times since June last year as supply has tightened, forcing some suppliers to cease pasta production because they are unable to pass on the soaring cost of raw materials to their customers - exacerbating supply further.
This week chilled foods manufacturer Bakkavör said it would close its pasta plant in Scunthorpe because soaring ingredient costs had rendered it unviable.
Nigel Singh, UK rep for own-label pasta giant Pasta Lensi, told The Grocer other pasta manufacturers in Italy and the UK were being forced to cease production because of cost pressures. "The price of durum wheat has leapt 250% since June last year but a 500g pack has only increased by 31p to 61p - that's 100%. For farmers, manufacturers and retailers to make a fair income, a 500g pack should sell for 90p."
n The price of bread wheat has soared 18% since early February. A tonne of bread wheat cost £204 at the start of the month. This week it was selling at £240 - 118% higher than a year earlier.