Prepare for pasta sticker shock

It might be time to cut back on the spaghetti carbonara… not because you need to watch the carbs, but to save on your grocery bill.

What happened: Stats Canada lowered its estimates for Canadian wheat production this year to 29.5 million tonnes, which would be the second-lowest total in eight years. It could present a 14% drop from last year’s bumper wheat crop due to droughts across the Prairies.

  • Harvests of durum wheat—used to make pasta—will be hit particularly hard: Stats Canada sees yields dropping 26%, leading to the second-smallest crop in 12 years.

Why it matters: Canada accounts for about half of the world’s durum trade, making it easily the largest producer and exporter of the crop. A production shortage will lead to price increases both at home and abroad for pasta, a food item that is a pantry staple for millions. 

  • Pasta prices have already risen dramatically in Canada as of late. In July, pasta prices surged 10.1% month-over-month and 17.1% year-over-year. Mamma mia! 

Zoom out: Unsurprisingly, Italy is poised to be the biggest victim of Canada’s poor harvest. In May, the Italian government called for a crisis meeting about rising pasta prices while consumer groups asked shoppers to go on a “pasta strike.”—QH