Searching for Oats in the United States
What is going on with flour and oats in the United States? You already see the dramatic price fluctuations. But why? And how can we fix this?
Simply put: oats were hard to get out of Western Canada this spring. Rail cars, are essential to the oats industry, but there was a shortage in cars that resulted in a bottleneck on Canada’s rails, which brought on a shortage of oats to the United States.
Canadian mills became aware of the issue and tried to get as much as they could down to millers in the United States, as those millers were holding dangerously low levels of oats, with some even fearing closures.
Finding a Way
For a company like Bremer Authentic Ingredients, issues like this are of high importance. We need to stay up on all freight issues and prepare as best we can for any future shortage that could make it more difficult for us—and thus our customers—to get the right ingredients in a timely fashion.
As the ice melted on the Mississippi River, Scandinavian suppliers became an option for millers in the United States. This, of course, gave Canadian suppliers extra incentive to try to resolve the issues with the rail system, as every time a miller in the United States buys from someone else, the Canadian suppliers lose money (and it can be a substantial amount).
Everyone involved is doing what they can to get back to business as usual. For our part, it means working directly with our suppliers to know exactly what they have, when they have it and when they can get it, so we can keep our stock at a healthy level for our customers.