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· Tread Lightly
13,286 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·

I remember the 2008 events first spurred me to start working on upping inventory levels in my pantry, I recall it started with rice shortages and threatened to spread to other foodstuffs. It never quite whacked us here, though better quality rice did become scarce on the West coast, and prices here did rise everywhere. SubSaharan Africa, a good chunk of Asia saw sporadic riots in places, and the theme seemed to be that the wealth in places like China raised expectation levels and people were eating better and that hit overall supplies and commensurately, prices. Those less fortunate either couldnt get their hands on it, or pay for it if available.

Problem is persisting, apparently, and any particular one-off event like a currency issue, flood, drought, fuel spike or shortage, political unrest, etc could tip the wagon over. I personally believe in giving myself slack to get alternatives in place by stocking at least a year whenever possible, what's happened in the past 5 years could be a picnic considering the state of the world, terrorism, fuel prices and particularly economic uncertainty:

The head of the world's biggest food company Nestle said on Friday that rising food prices have created conditions "similar" to 2008 when hunger riots took place in many countries.

"The situation is similar (to 2008). This has become the new reality," the Swiss giant's chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe told the Salzburger Nachrichten daily in his native Austria in an interview.

"We have reached a level of food prices that is substantially higher than before. It will likely settle down at this level.

"If you live in a developing country and spend 80 percent of your income on food then of course you are going to feel it more than here (in Europe) where it is maybe eight percent."

In 2008, the price of cereals reached historic levels, provoking a food crisis and riots in a number of African countries, as well as in Haiti and the Philippines.

In September the UN food agency's food price index came in at 225 points, just higher than the peak it hit in June 2008. It is down from the record 237.7 points hit in February this year.

Food price inflation this year is seen as having contributed to the "Arab Spring" unrest in north Africa and the Middle East and there are fears of fresh unrest elsewhere.

The increases are blamed on speculative commodity trading, climate change, rising populations and changing eating habits in countries like India and China, most notably an increase in meat consumption by a growing middle class.

Brabeck-Letmathe said another factor was water, saying humans were "using more water than is sustainable" and calling for the price of water to rise in order to encourage firms and consumers to be less wasteful.

· Watcher.
41,318 Posts
It all starts with h20 folks.'08.

· Registered
16,162 Posts
If the Nestle guy had done his research, he would have learned that his 8% of income figure attributed to Europeans was wrong ad laughable. Even the US spends 9.8%. The French spend about 22%. The Italians spend more.

I read the comments that suggested that because the guy's company was selling water that somehow his comments were designed to sell more. Doesn't work that way, folks. People in third world countries don't buy bottled water. I would believe the comments if they suggested that being the food business and indicating that profits would go up would help his company's stock. However, food processors are having their margins squeezed and designing smaller packaging now.

In Los Angeles, the largest polluter of water is a company that processes the same and its advertising suggests that the water comes from clear mountain artisian wells. I represented a water distributor. I laugh everytime I see someone buying water at the local supermarkets because the Los Angeles tap water is just as good. If you want to believe that US urban public water is infected with all kinds of germs at all times, go right ahead.

The third largest water user is UCLA in Westwood. It is statuorily exempt from governmental water usage restrictions although it makes an effort. My stautory exemption comment is that you are supposed to do what I say, and not follow my example.

Food is subsidized in the third world and sometimes in the second world. It doesn't take a rocket scientist or a Nestle executive to observe that keeping income the same or reducing it and raising the price of food leads to riots.

In rocket science, you learn that a severe drought in the US southwest leads to an early slaughter of livestock (prices go down) or a higher cost of feedstock leads to an early slaughter. Beef steaks don't grow on trees. So, in the next birthing cycle, fewer cattle are born and prices go up! So you buy your beefsteaks now and store them if you have a freezer.

Next, I think that I will apply to Nestle for an executive position.

7,035 Posts
"The situation is similar (to 2008). This has become the new reality," the Swiss giant's chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe told the Salzburger Nachrichten daily in his native Austria in an interview.[/I]
Wasn't 08 the first year we were forced to waste our corn on poisoning our fuel with ethanol?
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