King Arthur Flour: we deliver quality.
BUMMER! That’s what I thought when I heard the news that wheat prices had risen even higher and faster than the experts had predicted last fall. The cost of wheat, per bushel, is now more than triple what it was last April. In fact, the cost of wheat has doubled just since last month. WHEW!
What’s up with that? Well, poor wheat harvests in most of the world have caused other countries to come knocking on America’s door looking for wheat. While our U.S. harvest was bountiful last year, global demand has pushed the price sky-high. At the same time, our national wheat reserves, the carryover from one year to the next, are at their lowest level in over 60 years. And farmers are turning to soybeans and corn, which in recent years have become more profitable than wheat. In short, the world grain market has seen a “perfect storm,” and we’re all feeling the pain.
What does this mean to you? If you haven’t noticed, supermarket prices on just about everything (other than fresh produce) are creeping up. And you’re going to see flour prices rise, too. King Arthur Flour is 100% employee-owned. All 167 of us here in Vermont are doing everything we can to keep the cost of flour down by working as efficiently as possible. But there’s simply no way for us to absorb entirely the impact of current record-breaking wheat prices.
That said, one thing we will NEVER do is compromise the quality of our flour. Analysts are predicting that the protein level of most flours on the market may drop 10% from their normal level. Trust me: this will make a major difference in your baking. Recipes that have always worked may flop: cookies may spread, muffins flatten, and cakes may rise, then collapse. There’s no telling what’ll happen when the protein level of flour fluctuates.
And that’s why the protein level of King Arthur Flour will remain exactly the same as it’s always been. Yes, we’re paying more—MUCH more—for the increasingly scarce, top-quality wheat we need. And yes, you’ll pay more for our flour at the supermarket. But in return, we promise you that the quality of King Arthur Flour will never waver. As our vice president recently wrote in our internal company newsletter, “We will not purchase lower protein flour, or compromise our quality, consistency, or bakeability. King Arthur Flour has had these great attributes for 218 years. We will have them for another 218 years!”
Don’t put your baking at risk. Stick with us through these hard times; we promise we’ll deliver you America’s best flour, just as we’ve been doing since 1790. You may not be able to afford the biggest diamond in the world. Or the most expensive car. Or even a meal at a top-notch restaurant. But you CAN afford the best flour in the world: King Arthur Flour.
P.S. Since posting this blog, we’ve received several reader comments via email. Here’s a sampling:
“First, thank you for the excellent product you provide. I am a devoted fan of your whole wheat flour and red wheat ‘bread flour.’ I’ve made my own bread for 40 years and I don’t intend to stop, though I do admit to using a bread machine now instead of kneading it by hand. I appreciated your notice about the expected rise in price of your flour as well as the reason behind it. I applaud your holding to your high standards and will continue to buy your product. Something as important as ‘the staff of life’ should not be made with inferior products. Thank you! ”
“In regards to your e-mail on rising prices. Although I feel the pinch on all rising prices, I understand what you are going through with the flour situation. I will keep ordering and USING King Arthur flours. I have never been disappointed with your products. I have tried quite a few. I have all your cookbooks, subscribe to ‘The Baking Sheet,’ and miss the magazine you published for a short while. PLEASE do not change your flours in any way. I have two Zo bread machines that are in use most every day… Keep up the good work. ”
“Hi folks: I hate to see yet another price increase in my groceries. But be assured, I will ALWAYS buy KA Flour. I have just recently started using your products, and ohhh my gosh, what a difference in my baking it makes, and the flavor of my baked goods. I could never before make bread, it never turned out, but w/your flours and grains, and improvers, etc. and your wonderful recipes from the 2 cookbooks I have of yours now, they always, always turn out, and beautifully! Plus I love supporting a company such as yours! I am a customer for life. Here’s hoping the price of wheat goes down soon, but until then, we will just roll with it. I so appreciate you guys for not changing your flours. It wouldn’t be worth it.”