From last May, the price of wheat had reached a record at more than 438 euros per tonne in Europe, both because of the war in Ukraine and an Indian embargo on its exports. But since then, France has experienced the driest summer in seven decades, and this could have consequences for the availability of products.
Products with decreasing stocks
The magazine 60 Million consumers asked Myriam Qadi, researcher at the NielsenIQ Institute, which foods could soon be affected by a shortage. Among the products whose stocks continue to decrease at the beginning of August, she cites: “starches, semolina, pasta, flour and rice”.
On the other hand, we are far from a total shortage: Myriam Qadi specifies that we are not “at a critical level in terms of stock”. This is also the case for most products that are currently causing concern.
Those whose stocks have approached normal
She explains that certain products, such as oils, pasta and flour, experienced “an abnormal sales phenomenon” last March, in the days following the start of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Fear of a shortage drove consumers to stockpile and caused the availability of basic food products to plummet. In April, oils became rare on the shelves: 50% of the world trade in sunflower oil comes from Ukraine, and 28% from Russia. A few weeks later, it was mustard that began to be difficult to find, because of the war but also because of the drought in Canada, a major exporter of mustard seeds.
Currently, the oils are still experiencing a higher level of sales than normal, according to Myriam Qadi, but their availability rate, that is to say the number of stores in which they are present, has risen compared to the May. According to the researcher for NielsenIQ, there is no risk for the moment that these products disappear from supermarkets, even if they are more difficult to find at the end of the week when the shelves have not been restocked since. several days.
Drought adds to war in Ukraine
On the other hand, this summer’s drought in France could be a new blow for cereals. In mid-August, the president of the FNSEA (National Federation of Farmers’ Unions) Christiane Lambert told West France yield losses could amount to “between 10 and 30%” for wheat.
In the same article, the daily notes that seed production is also down by 40 to 50%, according to the management of the French Union of Seed Companies, due to the war in Ukraine. This is not going to cause an immediate shortage, but is likely to create even more strain on the wheat market in 2023 and 2024, “because what is not sown will not be available for cultivation next winter. “.
Tensions on packaging materials
Apart from cereals and starches, the article of 60 Million consumers evokes a scarcity of other products, due to access to raw materials for packaging. Indeed, the price of glass bottles is on the rise, in particular because of the cessation of production at the Ukrainian factories of the glass giants Owens-Illinois and Verallia. The price of aluminum has also increased due to rising energy prices. Cardboard and paper are also affected by inflation and longer delivery times. Products that use these materials for packaging are therefore impacted, including beverages.