E-mail this article to
yourself or a friend.
Enter address:


Bad news from the flour mills: output plunges

Editor's note to readers: As you read the following story, think about what could happen to demand for wheat flour after Monsanto introduces its genetically engineered wheat. The links after the story might give a clue. -- RS

(Thursday, July 10, 2003 -- CropChoice news) -- Bakingbusiness.com: WASHINGTON -- In a jolting indication that U.S. flour milling trends are even worse than believed, the U.S. Bureau of the Census now estimates final 2002 flour production at 394.7 million cwts, the smallest output in seven years.

The 2002 summary total declined 6.6 million cwts from the bureau's preliminary estimate, when production was thought to have declined about 4 million cwts from 2001 while still exceeding 400 million cwts.

Instead, the Bureau now estimates 2002 production fell 9.8 million cwts from 2001 and a stunning 26.6 million cwts from record production of 421.2 million cwts in 2000.

The final 2002 output marks the lowest production since 1995, when output totaled 388.7 million cwts, and it was the first year since 1998 in which production dipped below the 400 million-level.

Revisions in capacity figures for 2002 resulted in mill operations averaging 86.5% of six-day capacity, contrasted with 87.2% previously estimated in the preliminary numbers for the year and operations in 2001 at 84.2%.

Total consumption in 2002 fell to 394.9 million cwts , down 7.6 million cwts, or 2% from 2001 and down 18.3 million, or 4%, from the disappearance peak of 413.2 million in 2000. The new numbers show per-capita flour disappearance falling precipitously, down to 137 lbs in 2002, contrasted with 141 lbs in 2001 and 146 lbs in 2000.

The recent peak in per-capita use was 147 lbs in 1997, while the revised estimate for 2002 shows per-capita disappearance at the lowest level since it also was 137 lbs in 1991.

Related items: