As the 2023-24 US wheat marketing year approaches, there are concerns over a lack of moisture, which could limit yields and production of two of the three largest wheat varieties grown in the US, increasing the risk of above-average flour prices into 2024. In this episode of the Xtalks Food Podcast, Sydney talks about why droughts can have a significant impact on flour prices and production, including the quality of wheat crops, the transportation of wheat and the overall demand for flour. The drought conditions have put a lot of attention on crop abandonment rates, as many acres are not being harvested.There have been several notable spikes in flour prices over the past 20 years. For example, in 2007, flour prices increased by more than 50 percent due to a combination of droughts in wheat-growing regions and rising demand for wheat-based products. But in general, the price of flour has steadily increased over the past two decades. The team talks about the trickle down effects of rising flour prices, including how it can impact the price of food items that contain flour.
Also in this episode, Sydney talks about Tagatose, a rare sugar that has been garnering attention in recent years due to its potential health benefits and versatility as a low-calorie sugar alternative. While it is found naturally in small amounts in some dairy products and fruits, tagatose is considered a rare sugar because it is not commonly found in the human diet. It is produced through a process of enzymatic conversion of lactose (a sugar found in milk) into tagatose. Tagatose has several advantages over other sweeteners being that it’s low in calories and has a low glycemic index (GI). Tagatose has been found to have prebiotic properties, meaning it promotes the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. However, since it’s not widely available and is produced through a complex enzymatic process, tagatose is currently more expensive than other sweeteners. The team wonders whether yet another sugar alternative is necessary among the large pool of sweeteners on the market.
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