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Why are we about to be paying so much more for pasta?



Rising concerns surround the beloved pasta dish as prices surge due to drought in Canada and adverse weather conditions in Europe, damaging crops of durum wheat and disrupting supplies for flour millers and food companies.

Italy’s government convened a crisis meeting in response to the soaring prices of this staple food, which have increased more than double the national inflation rate.

Global production of durum wheat is on track for a 22-year low, leading Italy’s renowned pasta makers to explore unconventional suppliers like Turkey for their main ingredient.

In Toronto, Continental Noodles, a family-owned business, experienced a sudden 24% increase in the cost of a 20-kilogram bag of semolina flour, derived from durum wheat, over a few weeks in July.

This cost escalation, coupled with setbacks in tomato supply due to adverse conditions in Spain and India, has raised concerns for producers like Continental Noodles, which supplies pasta to outlets like Whole Foods.

Vincent Liberatore, one of the owners of Continental Noodles, expressed apprehension over potential further price hikes, unsure of how much additional cost consumers can bear.

He stressed that businesses are navigating an uncertain landscape marked by fluctuating costs.

Across the globe, retail pasta prices have risen by approximately 12% in Europe and 8% in the United States this year, according to market research firm Nielsen.

In tandem, the price of another essential staple, rice, has surged due to export restrictions in India.

The International Grains Council forecasts a notable decrease in global durum production for the 2023/24 period, resulting in the lowest production levels in 22 years and dwindling global stocks.

Canadian farmer Darold Niwa, based in Alberta, witnessed his expectations for a robust durum harvest diminish as drought conditions persisted.

His durum yield plummeted, producing only a fraction of the usual kernels per head. The adverse weather conditions have also impacted the United States, Spain, Italy, and France, causing supply challenges and fluctuations in quality.

Notably, Canada, accounting for approximately half of global durum trade, faces its second-smallest harvest in over a decade, with an expected yield of 4.3 million metric tons this year.

The spike in Euronext futures price benchmarks in early August, influenced by deteriorating supplies, compelled major importer Algeria to cancel a durum tender.

Meanwhile, Turkey emerged as an unexpected durum exporter, capitalising on a bumper harvest and substantial stocks. Turkish durum exports have temporarily influenced prices but are anticipated to escalate again when Turkey’s reserves deplete.

In response to the dire supply situation, pasta makers are exploring alternative options such as utilising more soft wheat in regions where regulations permit.

Soft wheat differs from durum, which produces the sought-after “al dente” texture in pasta.

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Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?



Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.

Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.

While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.

Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY

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What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry



Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.

The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.

The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.

New Zealand example

Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.

The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.

With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.

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Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’



Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.

The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.

In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.

We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.

Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.

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