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Food: There Could Be Another Pasta Shortage, Experts Warn

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Last year was rocked by shortages in all areas of the grocery store, and unfortunately, 2021 started out similarly. A report was released in December revealing that one specific pasta shape had virtually disappeared. (Related: 112 Most Popular Sodas Ranked by How Toxic They Are)

a display in a store: pasta shortage © Provided by Eat This, Not That! pasta shortage

Barilla acknowledged that their production of bucatini—a long pasta with a hole in the middle like a straw—was spirling like rotini because of a huge increase in demand since everyone was cooking homemade meals (and what's easier to make than pasta?). De Cecco, another big pasta manufacturer, found issues with the FDA during this time because the iron level in its bucatini was "below the designated level as required by the standard of enriched macaroni," the FDA said.

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Both companies said their bucatini would eventually make a comeback, but as we near 2022 the overall pasta market isn't looking so positive.

As we know, pasta is made from flour—but not just any flour. Durum wheat is the hardest wheat, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says. It is thick with a high protein content and gluten strength and is, therefore, a great ingredient to use for pasta and bread. It is called semolina flour when it is ground up.

While North Dakota is the primary location for growing durum wheat in the U.S., Canada produces two-thirds of the world's supply, followed by Europe. A French news site, The Connexion, says both of those areas have been hit hard by unusual weather this year, severely impacting the crop.

Heavy rainfalls in Europe are affecting the durum wheat stash in France, where farmers are worried as their supply is running low.

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"We have about 12 tonnes left here, and with that we can make, depending on the type of pasta, between 15 days to three weeks' worth more or less," Gilles Reichstadt, the manager for the Usine Thirion factory in northeast France, told the news outlet. "We are supposed to be getting 25 tonnes delivered in September, so we're hoping that will arrive."

Canada, though, is facing the opposite problem. A huge heatwave and drought have knocked out 30% of the country's crops and prices for durum wheat have already skyrocketed this year, up to around $350 per metric ton. This time last year it was about $294, government data from Alberta shows.

Jason Bull, the director of Eurostar Commodities, an ingredient supplier based in West Yorkshire, England, told that "This is a dire situation" and that "The market is completely out of control." He also said a pasta shortage is expected on supermarket shelves in addition to higher prices that will be passed on to consumers. Eventually, he added, it could come down to making pasta with soft wheat flour instead of durum wheat.

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This is on par with what Kroger executives are predicting for the rest of 2021. Recently they said the cost of groceries will be about 2% to 3% more than usual through the end of the year.

Eat This, Not That! has reached out to Barilla and De Cecco for information about whether their pasta will be affected.

For more info about what's happening at your local supermarket, read these next:

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Read the original article on Eat This, Not That!.

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