The fall pricing outlook for grains, dairy, eggs, and sugar is a looming question mark. Jeff Gholson, senior vice president, procurement, at Rise Baking, spoke on the topic during an Aug. 16 IDDBA Webinar: Fall Baking Season Commodity Outlook.

“It’s been a crazy two years. It’s been a crazy two months,” Gholson said of the economy in mid-August. “Inflation continues to moderate.”

Overall, food inflation has risen 4.9% over the past 12 months. As for whether America is heading toward a recession, Gholson stated, “Will we, or won’t we? It’s a moving target.”

There are geopolitical issues at work, including Russia/Ukraine and China, where the economy has slowed. China experienced double-digit declines in imports and exports during July.

“The third real issue is weather,” Gholson pointed out. “El Nino shouldn’t have a whole lot of impact. The bigger issues will be in southeast Asia, particularly in palm. Southeast Asian palm production could be impacted negatively.”

Weather in the western United States has improved drastically in the past six months, he explained. Needed rainfall is reaching the Central and Southern Plains where wheat is so important. “Areas in the Midwest have improved in recent weeks, but there are some areas of concern.”

This article is an excerpt from the September 2023 issue of Supermarket Perimeter. You can read the entire Cakes feature and more in the digital edition here.