Monday, September 17, 2007

noodles of yesteryear

Italians set to boycott pasta as the price of wheat reaches record highs
Italy's leading flour maker, Grandi Molini Italiani, and pasta and poultry producers are planning further price increases, shocking Italians, said to choose pasta over sex. [...] The green trend for bio-fuels is also blamed for boosting demand for grain. The US Department of Agriculture, meanwhile, reports world wheat stocks are falling to a 26-year low of less than 115 million tonnes.
But the trigger for this week's price rises was hot winds sweeping across western Australia, causing severe damage to the already struggling wheat crop.
Australia's weather trouble "compounds what is already a fairly desperate problem", said Simon Ingle, head of milling wheat for Britain's largest farmer-run grain co-operative, Grainfarmers.
"This is extremely serious. Importing nations such as Egypt, India and Morocco have to pay at least twice as much for wheat as they did last year," he added.

Catchy headlines aside, Italians will not be boycotting pasta. They might be buying less of it, yes. And while one cannot say with surety whether there are hedonic replacements for staple foods such as pasta, we're to find out shortly. Grubs, anyone?

Food boycotts will really be about belt tightening and have the flavor of a motor vehicle driver foregoing petrol on alternate weekdays to "send a message" to the big corporations.

Meanwhile, grain surpluses plummet in the face of permanent rummy weather. It is not a valid comparison to highlight the tonnage of available wheat 26 years ago without highlighting the difference in population - - which has seen a swell of 2 billion since 1980. This means presumably back in those sepia toned days a starving Italian could heap their plate with 30% more noodles.

Furthering the point note that along with an overall swell in population, the First World has also seen a swell in buttocks:

...(S)ome data from the Centre for Disease Control in the USA. It is estimated that the average American consumed approximately 1497 pounds of food per person per year in 1970 and this rose to a whopping 1775 pounds of food per person per year in the year 2000. That is a 278 pound increase per person per year – which translates into a lot of extra food.
Researchers report that portion size changes are part of the “supersizing” phenomenon seen at fast food establishments and at restaurants.

So as the losers start to lose with finality, the strange North American boat of temporary abundance that I live on chugs on. The passengers on this journey continue to gorge themselves, curious man sized experiments in the craft of foie gras.

Doing more with less, an opportunity that will come your way. Get ready.


At 5:15 AM, February 28, 2008, Blogger Blasphermour said...

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