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Fonty

Where has all the flour gone?

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I do a lot of baking, and we normally make all our own bread.  i haven't seen either wholemeal or strong white bread flour for nearly a month now.  This is not something I would ever think to stockpile.  When I am nearing the bottom of a bag of whatever flour, I buy another one.  

 

I can understand that perhaps people went into a panic and bought a lot originally, but I would have thought shops would have been able to restock by now.  Yet the shelves remain empty.  
 

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People bought a lot more than normal* as quickly as supermarkets could restock - until it ran out. I've read that there is plenty of flour itself available, but there is a shortage of capacity to package it in standard 1.5kg bags rather than the sacks which they'd be sending to the trade.

 

I get through a good amount of flour but am hoping my habit of always having an unopened bag will just about see me through.

 

*Not just because of typical stockpiling: many people who wouldn't normally make bread now have at least the intention of doing so (plenty of time at home; the prospect of not being able to go out for fresh bread if in quarantine; children to entertain; plans to learn something new; most meals now eaten in the home).

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I’ve baked own bread for ever and can’t find flour either. I usually have an unopened bag of each type of flour in pantry as reserve but that now nearly gone too. 

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@Lizbie1 I've not read about the shortage of capacity to package in in 1.5kg bags.  I am assuming it is the lack of people to do it,?  Rather than a lack of the bags themselves....

 

It will be interesting to see how much flour gets thrown away when restrictions are lifted.  Perhaps it should have been rationed?  It is all very well people saying, "I will stay at home and make my own bread, therefore I will stock up."  That leaves a lot of people who have no choice but to go out to buy something that is a basic food stuff.  Possibly older people, who are more vulnerable to start with.  

 

I read a post from a friend of a friend, who said she and her children were baking every day - cakes, bread, biscuits.  When asked how they managed to eat it all, she replied, "Oh, we couldn't possible eat it all.  A lot of it goes out to the birds."

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5 minutes ago, Fonty said:

I read a post from a friend of a friend, who said she and her children were baking every day - cakes, bread, biscuits.  When asked how they managed to eat it all, she replied, "Oh, we couldn't possible eat it all.  A lot of it goes out to the birds."

 

I wonder whether she had considered that as well as teaching her children to make these things, she is teaching them to be wasteful - especially at a time when there are question marks over the supply of food.

 

If it's not difficult for a household of one (me!) to reduce quantities, or make things last several days, or freeze the extra, I don't understand why a family can't. Though perhaps I'm missing something!

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Well I’m glad I’m not the only one having trouble buying flour!  Like you good folk, I shop for flour when the flour canister is almost empty. I mainly use plain flour for yorkshire puddings, birthday cakes or thickening sauces and casseroles and Waitrose/Ocado/Tesco are all out of stock.  Mr C managed to get two tiny bags in Asda the other day.  

 

Eggs and Cauliflower are also in very short supply.  Why would you stockpile either of those? 🤔

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2 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I wonder whether she had considered that as well as teaching her children to make these things, she is teaching them to be wasteful - especially at a time when there are question marks over the supply of food.

 

If it's not difficult for a household of one (me!) to reduce quantities, or make things last several days, or freeze the extra, I don't understand why a family can't. Though perhaps I'm missing something!

 

We manage to do it, Lizbie.  My husband had a half quantity birthday cake last week and even that gave us 3 portions each over several days.  I cannot abide food waste, especially as a result of overbuying.

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10 minutes ago, Lizbie1 said:

 

I wonder whether she had considered that as well as teaching her children to make these things, she is teaching them to be wasteful - especially at a time when there are question marks over the supply of food.

 

 

Absolutely.  I just wondered how young her children were.  I think they must have been very young, because I know most children would be very upset if mummy threw their creations out in the garden.  I do hope she was exaggerating on social media.  It has been known!

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54 minutes ago, Anna C said:

Well I’m glad I’m not the only one having trouble buying flour!  Like you good folk, I shop for flour when the flour canister is almost empty. I mainly use plain flour for yorkshire puddings, birthday cakes or thickening sauces and casseroles and Waitrose/Ocado/Tesco are all out of stock.  Mr C managed to get two tiny bags in Asda the other day.  

 

Eggs and Cauliflower are also in very short supply.  Why would you stockpile either of those? 🤔

Eggs I was managing to get from the end of people’s drives on daily walk but noticed the huts have been empty over last few days but their chickens must still be laying 🤷‍♀️
Funnily enough cauliflower was substituted for broccoli  in my online shop the other day. 

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4 hours ago, Fonty said:

@Lizbie1 I've not read about the shortage of capacity to package in in 1.5kg bags.  I am assuming it is the lack of people to do it,?  Rather than a lack of the bags themselves....

 

It will be interesting to see how much flour gets thrown away when restrictions are lifted.  Perhaps it should have been rationed?  It is all very well people saying, "I will stay at home and make my own bread, therefore I will stock up."  That leaves a lot of people who have no choice but to go out to buy something that is a basic food stuff.  Possibly older people, who are more vulnerable to start with.  

 

It will be everything - machines to print and produce the bags, machines to fill, people trained in their operation... everything except the flour itself! The UK's milling industry is based on every household buying a 1.5kg bag of flour less than once every 3 months, and the rest going to restaurants or manufacturers. Just a handful of consumers changing their behaviours makes a big difference!

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Just as long as I've got enough left for an Easter cake - I missed out on having a birthday cake this year, so really don't want to miss the Easter one too!

 

I'd say flour is the shortest of shortages, if you see what I mean.  Every time I go into a supermarket, I just see an empty shelf with a lot of white powder on it :(

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1 hour ago, Meetmeatthebarre said:

 

It will be everything - machines to print and produce the bags, machines to fill, people trained in their operation... everything except the flour itself! The UK's milling industry is based on every household buying a 1.5kg bag of flour less than once every 3 months, and the rest going to restaurants or manufacturers. Just a handful of consumers changing their behaviours makes a big difference!

 

Really interesting, thank you! I suppose a further consideration is that nobody knows how long the increased demand will persist, so investment in scaling up production for a low value commodity would be pretty risky.

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1 hour ago, alison said:

Just as long as I've got enough left for an Easter cake - I missed out on having a birthday cake this year, so really don't want to miss the Easter one too!

 

I'd say flour is the shortest of shortages, if you see what I mean.  Every time I go into a supermarket, I just see an empty shelf with a lot of white powder on it :(

That makes it sound like a cocaine shortage!

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On 08/04/2020 at 11:02, Lizbie1 said:

People bought a lot more than normal* as quickly as supermarkets could restock - until it ran out. I've read that there is plenty of flour itself available, but there is a shortage of capacity to package it in standard 1.5kg bags rather than the sacks which they'd be sending to the trade.

 

I get through a good amount of flour but am hoping my habit of always having an unopened bag will just about see me through.

 

*Not just because of typical stockpiling: many people who wouldn't normally make bread now have at least the intention of doing so (plenty of time at home; the prospect of not being able to go out for fresh bread if in quarantine; children to entertain; plans to learn something new; most meals now eaten in the home).



exactly this 

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No flour yet to be seen in my area either - yet here we have the opposite with broccoli and cauliflower to comments above. No problem finding cauliflower but no broccoli to be found and carrots in pretty short supply too.

 

Lots of adverts for people to work in the fields though to pick fruit and veg - a lot of it previously done by immigrants and people from out of the area as accommodation was provided with the work - now it can only be locals as not allowed to open the accommodation.

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The shortage of domestic packaging is also the reason for the lack of toilet paper according to reports over here. I'm wondering what else isn't available because of a lack of packaging for domestic use. Yeast also seems to be impossible to find, even though I assume it isn't being used as much commercially as usual. We have enough yeast and flour to make two more loaves of bread.

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6 hours ago, Melody said:

The shortage of domestic packaging is also the reason for the lack of toilet paper according to reports over here. I'm wondering what else isn't available because of a lack of packaging for domestic use. Yeast also seems to be impossible to find, even though I assume it isn't being used as much commercially as usual. We have enough yeast and flour to make two more loaves of bread.

 

Do they need packaging for toilet paper?  Couldn't they just be put on the shelves without being bundled up into sets of 4, 6, 12 or whatever?  

Yeast is also absent in the UK as well.  We had a go making our own, but it didn't work very well.  Fortunately, I found another tin lurking at the back of a cupboard, so I am ok for that for now.

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On 09/04/2020 at 21:16, 2dancersmum said:

No flour yet to be seen in my area either - yet here we have the opposite with broccoli and cauliflower to comments above. No problem finding cauliflower but no broccoli to be found and carrots in pretty short supply too.

 

Lots of adverts for people to work in the fields though to pick fruit and veg - a lot of it previously done by immigrants and people from out of the area as accommodation was provided with the work - now it can only be locals as not allowed to open the accommodation.

 

Yes, broccoli is now in short supply on Ocado, as well as Cauliflower.  😕

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I just thought I would say that I still haven't seen any yeast anywhere.  Not since we went in to lock down in March.

 

Anybody any idea why that should be?

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I wish I knew Fonty. Weekly I hope some might be available in supermarket. 
I was surprised to find a lack of various items from our list this week; pasta, eggs, broccoli, cabbage, rice... It was much like the beginning of the lockdown. 

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I have an theory about this, based on incidents while going to the Sainsbury's. The queue moves slowly but surely, and then suddenly stops for twenty minutes. The marshall spouts some nonsense that there are too many people in the shop. We watch people coming out, but nobody going in. When we eventually get in, the shelves are bare and the last few of the big trolleys that they use to pick internet orders are being wheeled off the floor. That's right! They are giving priority to lazy people who can't be bothered to go to the supermarket themselves.

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That's rather harsh to say the least - calling people lazy and saying they can't be bothered to go to the supermarket themselves - there are thousands of elderly people and people with underlying health conditions out there who are currently unable to go to supermarkets in person.  Perhaps be thankful that you are able to get out and that you have your health

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3 hours ago, trog said:

 When we eventually get in, the shelves are bare and the last few of the big trolleys that they use to pick internet orders are being wheeled off the floor. That's right! They are giving priority to lazy people who can't be bothered to go to the supermarket themselves.

 

I know several people who are very vulnerable and are having to shelter.  Would you have them starve to death Trog?

 

 

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To pick up on Trog's point about the online order wagons, I'm amazed at how many of the staff pushing these wagons round the local Tesco go against the one-way system.  It's really hard for the individual shopper to maintain social distancing when one, or two, or several of these  Juggernauts approach from the wrong direction.  

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23 hours ago, Fonty said:

I just thought I would say that I still haven't seen any yeast anywhere.  Not since we went in to lock down in March.

 

Anybody any idea why that should be?

If you shop at Asda and they have a bakery you can ask for fresh yeast there. I know my local Asda does this as I saw someone asking last week. I'm not sure if Sainsbury's does the same.

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14 hours ago, trog said:

They are giving priority to lazy people who can't be bothered to go to the supermarket themselves.

 

More likely: who are particularly vulnerable to Covid-19, or while not vulnerable themselves, are doing their damnedest to protect other people who are by avoiding situations where they might be at risk of picking it up:

 

 

Vulnerable.png

 

And anyway, Sainsbury's aren't making flour available for home delivery: I checked at the weekend.

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On 11/05/2020 at 09:56, trog said:

I have an theory about this, based on incidents while going to the Sainsbury's. The queue moves slowly but surely, and then suddenly stops for twenty minutes. The marshall spouts some nonsense that there are too many people in the shop. We watch people coming out, but nobody going in. When we eventually get in, the shelves are bare and the last few of the big trolleys that they use to pick internet orders are being wheeled off the floor. That's right! They are giving priority to lazy people who can't be bothered to go to the supermarket themselves.

 

@trog Surely you are not suggesting that all these people who have booked an online slot have taken all the yeast?   

 

I was hoping someone who works in the industry might come up with a logical explanation!  The only one I can think of is that, like flour, the majority goes to trade, and they simply do not have enough small pots to meet the demand for the domestic market.  Or something along those lines?  Or does that sound ridiculous?

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Our local supermarket has a bakery and they get sacks of flour delivered. They are now portioning it out into small bags and selling it by the kilo. Very sensible.

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