US wheat shortage could cost pizza lovers more dough

Extreme weather shrivels US wheat crop, takes slice out of pizza profits

FOX Business’ Grady Trimble joined ‘Varney & Co.’ to report from Chicago on rising wheat prices and how it could affect the city’s iconic deep-dish pies.

Pizza lovers beware: the price of your pie could soon pop. 

FOX Business' Grady Trimble joined "Varney & Co." Thursday from famous Chicago pizza chain Lou Malnati's Pizza reporting on how withering wheat crops could affect their classic deep-dish style pies.

Trimble warned fans of Lou Malnati's, one of the Chicago area's best-known local lines of pizza restaurants, to expect menu items to reflect a 3% increase at all of their locations later this month. Due in no small part to a U.S. wheat shortage, Trimble visited the pizza chain, which has seen a recent expansion beyond the state of Illinois, to learn of other factors stifling the company — and the industry at large.

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Restaurants across the board have been suffering from labor shortages, among a variety of other impediments brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. 







"Whether that's been minimum wage, or just market driving up hourly wages," said Jim D'Angelo, COO of Lou Malnati's Pizza, who rattled off a list of other factors that have contributed to recent hardship.

Among these factors is the cost related to an increase in packaging, with to-go orders seeing a hike since the beginning of the pandemic. He also noted that the prices for necessary ingredients such as oil, pork, and mozzarella have all increased as of late, further straining the business.

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Now, restaurants like Lou Malnati's will also have to monitor the rising prices for wheat, Trimble pointed out. 
 

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture, in its July 12 Crop Production report forecast, said spring wheat is down 41% from last year — the lowest it's been in 33 years as a result of the drought in the Northern Plains.

With U.S. wheat futures not looking bright, restaurants across the nation could see a slice of their pizza profits removed if they don't raise the price of menu items.

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