Dallas, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — Anyone looking to buy rice in bulk needs not shop at their favorite wholesaler. According to a report by the Associated Press, Costco and Sam’s Club, the nation’s two largest warehouse retail chains in the US, are putting restrictions on rice due to “recent supply and demand trends.”
The limit is being imposed on 20-pound bags of rice and not retail-sized bags. “The move comes as U.S. rice futures hit a record high amid global food inflation, although one rice expert said the warehouse chains may be reacting less to any shortages than to stockpiling by restaurants and small stores.” Lucky for Wal-Mart customers, however, the retail version of Sam’s Club has no plans to restrict the purchase of rice. Sam’s Club has put a restriction on imported jasmine, basmati and long grain white rice and the customer can only purchase four bags at a time.USA Rice
David Coia, the spokesperson for the USA Rice Federation notes that the rice shortage is not in the U.S., however, small restaurants and niche deli’s may be buying their rice in bulk at the wholesalers to avoid higher prices at the grocery store. The report states, “U.S. rice futures soared to an all-time high Wednesday as investors bet that surging world demand will continue to pressure already dwindling stockpiles. Relentless demand from developing countries and poor crop yields have pushed rice prices up 70 percent so far this year, raising concerns of severe shortages of the staple food consumed by almost half the world’s population.”
The report also indicates that the majority of rice that is consumed in the world is eaten “within 60 miles” from where it was grown. This is why the specialty rice such as jasmine, basmati and long grain white rice–the types being put on a restriction–are now being reeled in due to supply and demand.
Loyalty to a specific type of rice such as basmati is one of the biggest contributing factors to the limitation. With consumers only buying what they like and what they know, the demand for imported rice is much higher and the supply for the quality type of rice a consumer desires will not be substituted. Childs continued, “With some of the principal exporters of the higher-priced rices, such as India and Vietnam, shunning foreign sales to control prices at home and the cost of food generally going up, the price of rice has been climbing to new heights.”