While food costs continue to rise, Russia-Ukraine war could inflate prices of wheat products

Posted at 1:59 PM, Mar 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-28 18:21:07-04

(WXYZ) — Food prices were already rising prior to the war in Ukraine. But experts say the prices of products containing wheat, like a loaf of wheat bread, may be further impacted if the conflict persists.

“Just because there’s a disruption in one area of the world, some folks may think, ‘oh, that’s not going to impact me.' But because that price is set a lot based on what is happening across the entire globe, that does actually impact what the prices are here," said Theresa Sisung, industry relations specialist for Michigan Farm Bureau.

Prices that farmers deal with, or in the long run, prices that are passed onto consumers.

Michigan resident Whitney Caldwell says, "it's making it hard for people to really choose what's necessary to survive right now."

Another resident, Jacob Jackson, says "people are having to chose between gas or groceries or have people deliver their groceries for them."

According to the "Chicago Board of Trade," one bushel of wheat costs 7 to 8 dollars a bushel prior to the war in Ukraine. Now, it’s 10 to 11 dollars.

Sisung says the price peaked around 13 dollars a bushel.

“Here in the United States, we produce so much food. I don’t think the war in Ukraine is going to have a substantial disruption on our food supply," said Patrick Anderson of Anderson Economic Group.

In terms of costs, Anderson says a slight increase in food costs should be the least of our worries.

"Of the many things that we have to complain about here, compared to the war in Ukraine and what people are dealing with over there, the modest disruption we have in our own food, I’d be embarrassed to complain about it," said Anderson.

Sisung says whether the price of a bushel of wheat were to rise again, depends on how long the conflict lasts.

Nearly a third of the world’s supply of wheat comes from Russia and Ukraine.

She says the key months to export wheat out of Ukraine and Russia are June to September.

“If we still have the conflict then, it’s going to really hurt the supply chain even more because there won’t be wheat coming out of that region, and if we aren’t able to get wheat out of that region then we could see prices go up," said Sisung.