Geneo's lunch rush (copy)

Customers wait to order lunch at Geneo’s Pizza and Pub. Melissa Palmer is the owner of the restaurant and said she has struggled recently to get in pasta shipments.

Pasta lovers soon may have to cut back on or pay more for their favorite dish.

Low wheat production in Canada and Europe this year is leading to a pasta shortage. According to a report by BakeryandSnacks, an online news source that provides information on the food industry, durum wheat is the main ingredient in pasta, and a poor harvest means there might not be enough to meet global demand.

Geneo’s Pizza and Pub in Downtown St. Joseph already has been struggling to get pasta for months due to the overall rising cost of goods. Owner Melissa Palmer said in the last three months, she has seen a huge decline in when her restaurant can get pasta shipments.

“We get a certain brand in, and then we couldn’t get it all, and then they sent us a different kind … and we just had to acclimate to whatever they would give us at the time,” Palmer said. “And it’s still going on.”

BakeryandSnacks reports that there has been a 90% price spike for the raw ingredient in pasta recently. Palmer said she already has noticed almost a 50% price increase in the pasta she orders, and continuing shortages and rising costs might cause her to raise the amount of some dishes at Geneo’s.

“As far as an impact, unfortunately, we probably will have to raise our prices just a little bit more,” Palmer said. “We’re trying to do the best we can and not do that, but with everything gradually going up, unfortunately, it’s going to hit us that way one way or the other.”

Palmer said the most popular pasta dishes at Geneo’s are the chicken Alfredo and California Alfredo. Between the demand for those dishes and the decrease in pasta shipments, Palmer said she has occasionally sold out.

“Our pasta sales have really went up,” Palmer said. “Therefore, sometimes we do run out because our pasta is actually really good. We sell a lot of it.”

U.K.-based ingredient supplier Eurostar Commodities said that the increased price of durum wheat likely will cause an even higher increase in cost for the finished products, such as pasta, that use the ingredient. That increase is predicted to be seen in retail prices, so it could be noticeable on restaurant menus as well as store shelves.

Like any business, branding is important, so Palmer only orders a single type of pasta and won’t change from it. In some shipments, the restaurant gets what is expected, other weeks it gets different styles of pasta from the same brand, and twice they haven’t received any pasta at all.

“We never know what to expect week by week,” Palmer said.

She wants customers of Geneo’s Pizza and Pub to know that the issue is out of their control.

“We’re doing the best we can,” Palmer said. “Just bear with us, and everything’s going to get better one day.”

BakeryandSnacks said Canada is expected to only produce two-thirds of the durum wheat that was expected. Instead of 5 million tons in 2021, the world’s largest producer of durum wheat is expected to produce just 3.4 million tons. Aside from pasta, durum wheat is also used in items such as pizza, couscous, bread and bakery items.

Morgan Doyle can be reached at morgan.doyle@newspressnow.com

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