Sluggish economy hurting many bakeries - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Sluggish economy hurting many bakeries

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March 20, 2008

(NBC)-Gas prices aren't the only thing rising.  The price of flour is doing the same.  In fact, the cost of flour is so high, some bakeries are forced to close their doors. Others are raising prices.

The prime ingredient in flour is wheat, which is acting more like oil these days.  Many bakers blame high fuel and energy costs for the increase in flour prices. However, they also say farmers are growing less wheat in order to grow more corn for ethanol. 

A year ago, bakeries could pay about $8,000 dollars for about 45,000 pounds of flour.Today, many of them are paying about $16,000 dollars more for that same amount.

"It's very difficult to operate. It's very difficult. They are putting the squeeze on me," says baker, Dominic Serpe.

"When I get a load of flour, I shiver, and I say, 'How am I gonna pay this?'" says baker, Ralph Jacobs.

Because of the price increase in flour costs, some bakery employees across the country have taken pay cuts. They've also had to pass some of their costs off to consumers by raising their own prices.

Within the past month, the price of some types of wheat has risen over ninety percent. And as a result of all this, agricultural experts say, it's getting hard to find the type of wheat used to make pasta, noodles, pizza, and bagels.

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