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Old 04-29-2020, 09:30 AM   #1
lxs602
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Unavailability of Flour


Hi,

When the lockdown for coronavirus began a few weeks ago, I noticed that flour, as well as pasta, was perhaps the first food to vanish from supermarket shelves.

I understand there might be panic to bulk-buy long-life food, such as pasta, if needing to stay at home, even if it is disproportionate to the duration, which is at most two weeks in the UK.*

It is not clear to me why the sudden demand for flour. In an emergency people can rush for what is essential. But given so few can bake their own bread nowadays, how can it be so for flour? I also don't see there being any drive for baking cakes to survive a crisis.

If you, or anyone you know, bought a lot of flour, what did you intend it for? I am a little mystified, so I was just wondering if anyone had any thoughts.

Regarding the supply chain, an article on 14th April from The Guardian UK (not my choice of newspaper) had a good short explanation:

Quote:
The problem is partly operational. About 96% of flour from large millers is produced in bulk for bakers and food manufacturing, and that demand has stayed relatively stable. Demand from home bakers may have doubled, but since it was only 4% of the total, it is not the flour that is lacking so much as the ability to package smaller units in greater numbers. Across the country, most mills are running at full capacity, 24 hours a day. They are producing 4m bags a week, whereas previously they were producing 2m – yet it is still not enough.
*Except at risk groups, which I believe here in the UK is 12 weeks.

Last edited by lxs602; 04-30-2020 at 03:25 AM.
 
Old 04-29-2020, 10:07 AM   #2
DavidMcCann
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The Guardian obviously has the answer. I noticed that a local shop had a sign "no flour, no yeast". It seems that the home baking brigade have been filling their freezers.

Things do seem to be getting back to normal with soup and pasta, but biscuits and tinned fish are still scarce. A diet of sardines and custard creams — the mind boggles.
 
Old 04-30-2020, 02:32 PM   #3
ondoho
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lxs602 View Post
It is not clear to me why the sudden demand for flour. In an emergency people can rush for what is essential. But given so few can bake their own bread nowadays, how can it be so for flour? I also don't see there being any drive for baking cakes to survive a crisis.
I consider the ability to make simple food from simple ingredients essential.
A pack of flour will give more nutrition than a pack of pasta and most of all, it is more verstaile. And preserves just as long.

Your remark feels a little marieantoinetteish.

But incidentally you are proving a point I was trying to make some time ago in that other covid-19 thread.

Apart from that, all those rush buys have proven to be needless shortly after they started "a few weeks ago".

Last edited by ondoho; 04-30-2020 at 02:33 PM.
 
Old 04-30-2020, 05:35 PM   #4
Samsonite2010
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Perhaps a slight diversion, but related - my son's school asked us to bake something as part of a math exercise (getting weights of ingredients right). I feel this was very insensitive! Having said that I actually received 3kg of flour that I ordered a month ago, so was ok. That is a pattern actually. I tried to order stuff ages ago and now it keeps arriving. I need to start a vlog channel of "who's at the door?" because I keep receiving things I thought would never come. Got 50 plant pots the other day, a bunch of seeds to plant in them. A ton of top soil is arriving on Monday to go in the raised bed I was building (must finish it over the weekend). Life is strange when you can no longer get next day deliveries...
 
Old 04-30-2020, 06:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lxs602 View Post
It is not clear to me why the sudden demand for flour. In an emergency people can rush for what is essential. But given so few can bake their own bread nowadays, how can it be so for flour? I also don't see there being any drive for baking cakes to survive a crisis.
People need flour because everyone's suddenly an Instagram baker and making
bread is the hot new activity.
 
Old 04-30-2020, 07:47 PM   #6
frankbell
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You all might want to check out this long COVID-19 thread: https://www.linuxquestions.org/quest...rs-4175671329/
 
Old 05-01-2020, 01:00 PM   #7
lxs602
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
I consider the ability to make simple food from simple ingredients essential.
A pack of flour will give more nutrition than a pack of pasta and most of all, it is more verstaile. And preserves just as long.
You seem to able use flour, which of course is a good thing, and those properties of flour are true. If you cannot work with it, though, you can't then straight away use it for food, as an absolute necessity of life along with air and water (and other people?), which I mean by essential.

Quote:
Your remark feels a little marieantoinetteish.
Not sure what you mean by this.

Quote:
Apart from that, all those rush buys have proven to be needless shortly after they started "a few weeks ago".
And yet people still seem to be buying flour... perhaps scarcity increasing the demand? Or...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapak View Post
People need flour because everyone's suddenly an Instagram baker and making
bread is the hot new activity.
Someone did mention to me that they'd seen a lot of that on social media websites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidMcCann View Post
]Things do seem to be getting back to normal with soup and pasta, but biscuits and tinned fish are still scarce. A diet of sardines and custard creams — the mind boggles.
...or it's the symptom of a general madness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samsonite2010 View Post
Perhaps a slight diversion, but related - my son's school asked us to bake something as part of a math exercise (getting weights of ingredients right). I feel this was very insensitive! Having said that I actually received 3kg of flour that I ordered a month ago, so was ok. That is a pattern actually. I tried to order stuff ages ago and now it keeps arriving. I need to start a vlog channel of "who's at the door?" because I keep receiving things I thought would never come. Got 50 plant pots the other day, a bunch of seeds to plant in them. A ton of top soil is arriving on Monday to go in the raised bed I was building (must finish it over the weekend). Life is strange when you can no longer get next day deliveries...
I have found it a bit strange to be the first thing to go from the shelves and I wanted to pass a remark on it. I hope everyone is happily baking at home though. For anyone looking for flour, it still seems to be in convenience shops, and also available in bulk online in 16 or 25kg sacks from major suppliers. I suppose it might take a few days to arrive though.

Last edited by lxs602; 05-01-2020 at 01:17 PM.
 
Old 05-01-2020, 04:44 PM   #8
Samsonite2010
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Yes, the flour companies say they have plenty of grain, especially as restaurants and bakeries have mostly closed, but it takes a lot of time to produce consumer sized packets for the shops and so they mostly have giant sacks. You just need to find the wholesalers who are willing to sell it to the public (any with business sense).
 
Old 05-01-2020, 07:58 PM   #9
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There is a TV show about how stuff is made and a spin off forgot name. In one show they had a huge flour production plant. For the most part it was nearly full automation. They were showing larger bags/sacks of flour. They made all three kinds.

The phrase meant was Mary Antoinette ish. I assume let them eat cake.

I ordered some food supplies online a few weeks ago. Took a while to get shipped. Three cans were crushed and a glass bottle of dried coffee broken. Sheeze. At that rate I'll have to order every day.
 
Old 05-02-2020, 05:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
There is a TV show about how stuff is made and a spin off forgot name.
It was literally called "How It's Made," and I think it was on the History channel. That was a great show.
 
Old 05-04-2020, 02:02 AM   #11
Geist
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It stands to reason to stock up flour. It's not like most people can just go outside and hunt their dinner. Even gathering can be rather difficult.
So flour and it's (admittedly delicious) shelf stable carbs is a pretty attractive option.

Super domesticated though, as delicious as it might be.
Gotta get that slaaaaave graiiiiin to feed the ciiiitiieeeeeees and their millions of people who have no hunting/gathering grounnddssss.
Etc.
 
Old 05-04-2020, 08:59 AM   #12
Lady Fitzgerald
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapak View Post
It was literally called "How It's Made," and I think it was on the History channel. That was a great show.
You can currently see those on the Quest OTA channel under the title "Factory Made".
 
Old 05-04-2020, 12:12 PM   #13
Contrapak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
You can currently see those on the Quest OTA channel under the title "Factory Made".
That sounds like way too much work to get working. I'm sure there are "How It's Made" episodes on YouTube or Vimeo.
 
Old 05-04-2020, 01:03 PM   #14
Lady Fitzgerald
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contrapak View Post
That sounds like way too much work to get working. I'm sure there are "How It's Made" episodes on YouTube or Vimeo.
It isn't any work at all. Just attached an antenna to your TV and wait for the episode to show up on your local Quest channel. Or just search for it on YouTube.
 
Old 05-05-2020, 10:34 AM   #15
Contrapak
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
It isn't any work at all. Just attached an antenna to your TV and wait for the episode to show up on your local Quest channel. Or just search for it on YouTube.
> Just attached an antenna to your TV
> wait for the episode to show up on your local Quest channel.

I, and likely others, don't own an antenna. It doesn't make sense for cord cutters.

I'm sure it's easy for those who do still have an antenna.
 
  


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