(CBS4) – Inflation is hitting us all from all sides. Small businesses are finding it hard to make ends meet with the rising costs, like the pain at the pump driving up delivery costs. Now, bakeries are preparing for another punch as wheat and flour are expected to spike another 35% this summer.
Ismael De Sousa, baker and owner of Reunion Bread Co. in Denver, is already feeling the pinch.
“When we opened our bakery [four years ago], we were paying about $15 for a bag of 50 pounds, right now, we’re paying $70 for a bag of flour,” he said.
De Sousa said that quickly adds up for his bakery that specializes in handmade pastries, breads and granola. On top of inflation, he’s still adapting to the many changes spurred by the pandemic.
“It’s been a rollercoaster,” he told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
To keep his business running, De Sousa is also trying to adjust to ingredients in short supply as his providers have higher demands.
“They increased their minimums, so now we have to buy more at a higher price,” he said. “And we’re talking 200-300%.”
Much of the price hikes for wheat and other baking ingredients are due to the war overseas. Ukraine and Russia produce about a quarter of the global wheat supply, yet the war has stopped much of the production.
“Somehow, we haven’t raised our prices four or five times, which is basically what flour has gone up to,” De Sousa said.
Now, as wheat is expected to surge again this summer, De Sousa is working even harder to make ends meet. He said it will likely be soon when he has to pass down some of his costs to his customers.
“Our demand is still high, it’s still strong,” he said.
“I think if we’re able to pass on some of that price increase to our customers, I’m sure they’ll understand up to a point,” he added.