Pumpkin pie prices are higher in part thanks to climate change

When Americans sit down at their Thanksgiving tables, many of the items in front of them will be more expensive than they were last year. Baking in particular. And climate change is a contributing factor.

Inflation is affecting every sector of the economy, and food products are not immune. However, many of the ingredients that go into holiday cakes have been affected by floods, fires and droughts, causing scarcity and driving prices higher.

For example, pie crust. Wheat prices are now at their highest levels since 2012 and are up more than 10% in the past month alone. Severe drought in the western and northern plains has led the USDA to estimate it will be the worst wheat production in nearly two decades.

Higher costs for wheat, as well as alfalfa, drive feed costs higher, driving up milk prices. Cows also produce less milk during times of drought.

Then there’s the cake.

Michael Swanson said: “The Pacific Northwest had a terrible year between heat and drought. We’ve seen a lot of the things they’re good at, like cherries and apples, seeing their production hit. quite a success.” , agricultural economist at Wells Fargo.

Pumpkins are also more expensive due to heavy rains in the Midwest that caused a shortage of pumpkins. The average price of a pumpkin is 15% higher this fall.

Even honey. Wildfires in the West cause honey bees not to have much food. States like California, Colorado, Montana and Utah have lost nearly half of their honey bee colonies in the past two years, due to disease, famine and unusual weather.

Imports are also affected. Prices of vanilla from Madagascar and chocolate from Brazil are also increasing due to inclement weather and floods.

“We’re more worried about freezing in Brazil now than we were before, or flooding in China. And so we can’t run and hide from extreme weather events,” Swanson said. harsh globally because they’re all part of the food chain,” Swanson said.

At The Pie Shop in Washington, DC, all Thanksgiving orders are filled and cakes are piling up, but so are the costs.

Sandra Basanti, who has owned the Shop with her husband for 12 years, said: “I can say that there are some ingredients on some weeks that are almost double what they were last year.

Basanti tries to source ingredients locally to keep costs down, but large items such as flour, sugar and eggs need to be purchased from bulk distributors. She also makes savory pies that require beef and the cost of that is also going up.

All of that is having a particular impact on her small business.

“Usually Thanksgiving is when we can make a little extra money to prepare for the slow winter. However, this year, I’m not sure we’ll be really profitable,” she said.

Over 12 years, Basanti says she’s raised prices maybe 10%, but that’s not enough to offset the recent increase in her production costs. She doesn’t want to raise prices now, she said, because, “There’s only so much you can really charge for a pie.” Pumpkin pie prices are higher in part thanks to climate change

Sarah Ridley

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