Bigger isn’t better

October 3, 2010

Dear Vogels

I first came across your bread in 1979. It was love at first bite and I can  still recall the thrill when I bit into the grainy texture and savoured the nutty taste.

That might seem a little over the top, but remember back then there was little variety in bread and any that was readily available was white and insubstantial.  

Now the supermarkets and bakeries offer a wide variety of breads and I will confess that I’ve come partial to Burgen as well. One of the reasons I’ve lost my loyalty to you is that you’ve stopped offering the choice of thin and thick slices.

We used to be able to get most varieties of your bread sandwich or toast sliced. I always bought the sandwich sliced loaves even though most of the time I’d be toasting it.

Now you’re offering us a special, soft sandwich bread which is better for sandwiches than the other varieties. But that’s come at a cost – the sunflower and barley, original recipe and all the other options are only available in toast sliced sizes.

I’m a creature of habit at breakfast time and that habit requires two slices of toast – with cottage cheese and kiwifruit in winter or vegemite, cottage cheese and tomato in summer.

It’s possible that one toast-sliced slices equals two sandwich sliced slices but it doesn’t give the same satisfaction. I’m used to having two slices and that’s what I want to continue having.

But I don’t want to have two toast-sliced slices because that’s eating more bread than I need or want.

Keep the soft sandwich bread by all means, but please bring back the sandwich-slices in other varieties because bigger isn’t better when it comes to bread.

Yours in hope,

A somewhat less loyal Vogels fan.


Meat up veg down

November 17, 2008

There was a very small decrease in food prices  in October, the first time there hadn’t been a monthly increase in more than a year.

food-1

Food prices overall decreased by 0.3% last month.

Fruit and vegetables decreased by 6% helped by a 50.7% drop in the price of lettuce and a 24.9% fall in the price of tomatoes. However, these were offset by a 20.6% increase in the price of potatoes.

Vegetarians were better off than meat eaters because, the price of meat poultry and fish increased by 2.4%. Beef prices rose 5.4% and prepared meat and smallgoods icnreased by 6%.

The lower price of international dairy products filtered through tot he supermarket with a 4% decrease int he price of cheese. However, bread was 3.2% more expensive and grocery food as a whole increased by .6%.

Food prices increased 9.9% in the year to October.

food-2 
Grocery prices increased 11.9% , meat, poultry and fish prices rose 11.0%, fruit and vegetable went up 12.5%, restaurant meals and ready-to-eat food increased 6.4%, and non-alcoholic beverages rose by 4.7%.

Within these subgroups the price of chedder cheese went up 39.2% and potatoes increased in price by 41.7%.

These figures explain why gardening shops report increased sales of vegetable seeds and plants, although from my experience of vegetable gardening – which is admitedly haphazard – growing your own isn’t necessarily cheaper.

Home grown vegetables definitely taste better and it’s lovely to be able to pop outside and pick a good part of a meal.

But by the time I take account the cost of seeds and plants, tools bought then replaced because they go out on the farm never to be seen again, hoses and sprinklers which do the same thing, the fence to keep the rabbits out and the failures I’m not sure that I’m saving any money.


Grain Price Rises Pushes Food Prices Up

July 12, 2008

Good news for producers is bad news for consumers because rising international prices for grain will push domestic food prices up again.

Bread prices are predicted to rise 10c a loaf and pork and bacon prices $2 to $3 a kg.

Food producers face new grain contracts – $100 a tonne, or 30%, higher than last year.

Farmers say contracts for next season’s harvest, which are about to be signed, reflected those higher prices.

Pig and poultry producers say price rises are inevitable to cover higher feed costs.

Foodstuffs (South Island) chief executive Steve Anderson agrees, and warns costs will continue to increase across the board.

He could not quantify the size of any increase, saying that was up to suppliers, but he doubted there would be any price correction in the immediate future.

“We’re not planning on seeing a reduction in commodity prices in general.”

The price for meat and wool is also driven by the price of grain and that in turn is driven by the price of energy. The combined shortage of food and high fuel prices will push the price of all food up.

Grain prices were so volatile, milling wheat growers were not signing contracts at $500 a tonne, claiming the price was still $100 a tonne below the international price and higher-yielding feed wheat.

“It is a rising market. On a falling market, everyone would be signing,” Federated Farmers grains council chairman Ian Morten said.

Demand from dairy farmers had also driven up cereal prices. Growers have been encouraged to plant higher-yielding feed varieties instead of milling wheat, which gave them leverage against the mills.

Grain growers had this year resumed exporting to take advantage of higher international spot prices, something they had not done for many years, which reduced the availability of domestically-grown cereals.

On top of this is the competition for land from the misguided policy which changes land use from producing food for people to the production of fuel for vehicles.

Farmers and food producers also blamed Solid Energy for higher prices, as it has contracted 5000ha of predominantly cropping land to grow oilseed rape for biodiesel production this year.

Solid Energy plans to increase that production to between 20,000ha and 25,000ha within three years.

Mainland Poultry chief executive Michael Guthrie said international issues had driven grain prices up 80% for his egg business in the past 18 months.

Drought in Australia had decimated world grain production; there had been floods and biofuel production in the United States; growing demand for grain from China and India; low world grain stocks; and dairying had taken over cropping land in New Zealand.

Mr Guthrie said egg prices had been stable for the past two years. He expected prices to rise, but could not say by how much.

Pork Industry Board chairman Chris Trengrove said New Zealand was six months behind the rest of the world on feeling the impact of higher grain prices.

Pork and bacon prices would need to increase about $1 a kg to the farmer to cover rising costs, which translated to between $2 to $3 a kg to the consumer.

Production and transport costs are also rising for fruit and vegetables and that too will impact on retail prices.

Repeated competition from rabbits persuaded me to abandon my vegetable garden but now it has been securely fenced this seems like a good time to get it ready for spring planting.


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