May 18, 2021 — A global shortage of rice flour is likely to cause the prices of a wide variety of daily staple foods to rise. The severe shortage and surging prices were created by a “perfect storm” of factors in the major supplier countries, namely the uprising in Myanmar and the COVID-19 crisis in India, as the supplier reported. British ingredients Eurostar Commodities.
Rice flour is one of the most important and commonly used ingredients in baby foods, desserts, soups, stews, coatings, and pasta. It is also an important ingredient in gluten-free products.
“The total increase in the price of baby food will depend on the percentage of rice flour in the food recipe. Thus, recipes that use, for example, 60% rice flour will be more impacted, said Jason Bull, director of Eurostar Commodities. FoodIngredientsFirst.
However, rice flour has increased by 32 percent overall, which could be a 5-10 percent increase over your average jar of baby food. It’s been going on for six months, so this will soon hit shelves. ”
“Expect a 10% increase in baby food this summer. Other products containing rice flour as an ingredient will follow.
Far East crises cut supply of ‘broken’ rice
Many consumers eat rice flour every day without realizing it. The ingredient is usually derived from broken grains of rice which are fractured during the milling process.
Broken grains are considered inferior and therefore are separated from whole grains and sold as “broken rice”. The quality, cleanliness, taste and texture are the same as brown rice, but the “broken ones” are sold at a lower price all over the world.
Bull points out that several crucial factors have combined to create a European shortage of rice flour. “There are 50 percent less ‘broken ones’ available due to problems in the Far East, namely; The coup in Myanmar and the COVID-19 pandemic in India which halved production. “
“On top of that, we have a shortage of containers and general cargo, leading to increased freight costs and tax rates,” he continues. “We also have new increased demand here in the UK from the hospitality and food industries as we reopen. “
The new TCA regulations since Brexit also decree that rice flour imported into the United Kingdom must be made from “scraps” of European origin, ”adds Bull.
“To keep up with demand, we are seeing manufacturers making rice flour by grinding long grain rice at a ridiculous price, which can only lead to massive price hikes on items like baby food which depend on rice flour as a key ingredient. “
“As contracts end and negotiations for new contracts come to an end, suppliers will pass the costs on to consumers,” he warns.
Fonio as a replacement for rice flour
Fonio flour, made from African “supergrain” fonio, has been touted by some brands as a functional and nutritious alternative to rice flour. Last August, Terra Ingredients, a supplier of organic and non-GMO ingredients, partnered with IYA Foods “to embrace the supergrain mainstream”.
Currently working together to incorporate fonio into all of IYA Food’s standard flours and baking mixes, the duo plan to reinvent traditional staples in a familiar and instinctive way. The partnership will eventually include the launch of several co-branded products.
Last November, British health food brand Aduna hailed fonio as a fast-growing, drought-tolerant ancient cereal that could be the ‘new quinoa’.
Prized for its nutty flavor and light, chewy, couscous-like texture, fonio was voted “the tastiest ancient grain” in the United States in a survey of 1,500 consumers by Oldways Whole Grains Council.
Highlights of the rice sector
As part of the global developments in rice production, the first deployment of Bühler’s ‘smart’ rice mills has entered its final stages, with the Swiss rice mill Riseria Taverne among the first operators to successfully implement the system. AI and machine learning technology transform autonomous technologies into a smart integrated system, connecting the plant’s sorter, launderer and sensors.
Functional ingredient producer Beneo also recently announced a 50% increase in production capacity at its factory in Wijgmaal, Belgium, to meet growing customer demand for rice starch. A two-stage expansion process, valued at 50 million euros (US $ 56.4 million), will result in an increase in capacity by March 2022.
Last July Ingredion completed its rice manufacturing expansion in Banglen, Thailand. The move is part of the company’s continued investments to grow its specialty food ingredients business to further support customers globally and enhance its capabilities by expanding its rice production in Asia.
By Benjamin Ferrer
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