Organic wheat prices have hit an "historic high" as a supply crisis combines with soaring demand.
The price of organic wheat has risen from £200 to £300 a tonne over the last three months, ADM Milling marketing manager John Hastwell told British Baker. He said: "The global picture is of reduced availability and stocks and increased demand."
Paul Matthews of organic miller FWP Matthews also said organic wheat prices had risen by 50% in the last three months. He would be putting up prices from 5 February.
Export restrictions in Eastern Europe and a shortage of worldwide stocks from growing regions, including Sweden, Canada, South America and Australia, had put supply under pressure, he said. Demand for organic wheat to feed organically-reared animals in the UK had also escalated.
George Marriage, director of organic miller Marriage’s in Essex, said the price of wheat had risen by around £100 a tonne, not including extraction costs. He commented: "This is the law of supply and demand working with a vengeance. Demand for organic feed wheat has gone through the roof, with the rise in sales of organic meat and eggs, and with new regulations, upping the amount of organic wheat in organic feed."
Major organic wheat growing country the Ukraine had imposed an export ban on farmers, after a poor harvest, putting supply under further stain, he added.
John Lister of Shipton Mill told British Baker that the supply situation was "horrendous," and there was doubt whether wheat stocks would last to the next harvest.
And John Norton of wheat merchant Norton Organic Grain said: that wheat prices are at "historic highs". Around 50,000 tonnes of organic wheat are estimated to be sold in the UK a year.
Norton said: "The market is very short of supply. Demand is up, for organic wheat for animal feed and across the board. It takes three years for a farmer to convert to organic, so there is a time lag in supply."
National Association of British and Irish Millers director Alex Waugh commented: "This situation is like the conventional wheat situation, but with knobs on."
Under European law, organic cattle and sheep can be fed 5% non-organic wheat and pigs and poultry 15%, but feed must be 100% organic by 2012.