If Marie Antoinette were alive today, she would definitely think twice before uttering the words “Let them eat cake.” Much like its humbler counterpart bread, the price of cake – and other baked goods throughout Europe, for that matter – has skyrocketed, mostly due to current economic conditions like soaring inflation and the energy crisis raging throughout the world.
In Central France, flour miller Julien Bourgeois of Moulins Bourgeois called upon bakers in the region to increase the price of their baguettes by around ten cents a loaf in order to offset rising operational costs.
Bourgeois added that while customers can afford to spend a bit more for bread now, he expressed doubts about how much longer they can as prices continue to rise. Indeed, the average cost for a loaf of basic bread has risen by 8% since last year.
What’s Driving Up the Price of Bread?
Skyrocketing inflation rates throughout the globe have affected every aspect of modern living, but most especially, the cost of bread and other basic foods. Indeed, the price of bread throughout the region is up by 19% from last year’s rates; with winter looming ahead, this has done little to alleviate the anxiety felt by policymakers throughout the region.
The ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine remains one of the hardest-hitting factors as it has disrupted not only the regional energy markets, but also the supply of grain for flour, agricultural fertilizers, and even oilseed. As a result, major food processing companies are raising product prices to offset the increased costs of production. Multinational food company Nestle, for example, raised the prices of its products by around 9.5% at the end of Q3-2022, up from 7.7% at the end of the second quarter.
But Europe isn’t the only region that’s worried about the price of food as the year draws to a close. In the United States, the price of bread has increased by 15% and continues to rise, mirroring the way inflation continues to soar despite the measures implemented by the Federal Reserve. As a result, the rising price of consumer goods has many Americans pinching their pennies as winter approaches.
Things Will Get Better…But Not Soon
The current situation may get worse before it gets better. It is unlikely that prices will be going down any time soon.
Johan Sanders, president of the European Federation of Bakery Suppliers (FEDIMA), soberly observed that this is the first time in decades that inflation has adversely impacted the price of staple foods.
Unless circumstances change about the energy crisis and supply chain issues, prices will likely remain high for a protracted amount of time.