Russia-Ukraine war has ‘devastating effect’ on food supply: Goya CEO

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Bob Unanue, CEO of Goya Foods warned in “fox and friends weekendSunday that the war between Russia and Ukraine is having a “devastating effect” on food as shortages are expected to contribute to higher inflation.

President Biden said last month that the food shortage is “it’s going to be real” following the sanctions imposed on Russia by the US government as a result of Russian President Vladimir Putinthe invasion of Ukraine.

“On food shortages, yes, we talked about food shortages, and it will be real,” Biden said during a news conference at a NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, following a meeting with other world leaders.

“The price of sanctions is not only imposed on Russia,” he added. “It is also imposed on a large number of countries, including European countries and our country as well.”

In response, Unanue told the co-host Rachel Campos-Duffyon Sunday, that “there are two ongoing wars”.

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“The first war is a war against fossil fuels and that has triggered inflation,” he said. “We’re pacing seven, eight, nine, now 13% a month on our food.” He also noted that “the cost of transportation has affected all facets of the economy.”

Unanue argued that the “other war is the war in Ukraine where they make fertilizer, they make corn [and] wheat.”

Russia and Ukraine represent about 29% of world wheat exports, 19% of world corn supplies and 80% of world sunflower oil exports. This dependency has many traders concerned that any additional military force could trigger a massive scramble by food importers to replace supplies that normally come from the Black Sea region.

Russia is also one of the world’s largest exporters of the three main groups of fertilizers.

“They also have sand for glass and also for fracking,” Unanue said, speaking of Russia and Ukraine. He said “all of that is blocked at the Odessa ports,” which is affecting supply and prices.

While stressing that the war “is having a devastating effect on supply,” he argued that “the real problem” with the supply chain it started with the COVID lockdowns.

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Inflation hit a new 40-year high in February with the consumer price index rising 7.9% annually, according to data released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Month on month, inflation rose 0.8%.

The year-over-year reading is in line with estimates and compares with an annual jump of 7.5% in January, marking the fastest rise since February 1982, when inflation hit 7.6%.

From January to February, almost all categories of goods and services became more expensive. Gas jumped 6.6% and accounted for almost a third of the price increases. Grocery costs rose 1.4%, the steepest one-month increase since 1990, apart from the pandemic-induced price spike two years ago. The cost of fruits and vegetables rose 2.3%, the largest monthly increase since 2010.

During the 12 months ending in February, grocery prices rose 8.6%, the biggest year-on-year increase since 1981, the government said. Gasoline prices have risen 38%. And housing costs have risen 4.7%, the biggest annual jump since 1991.

Inflation data for March will be released next week. The February data, the latest data currently available, was taken before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which pushed up the prices of some basic goods. The costs of wheat, corn, cooking oils and metals such as aluminum and nickel have skyrocketed since the war began, as Ukraine and Russia are the main exporters of those commodities.

As inflation rises, meat and poultry prices are expected to continue rising in the US this year, according to a new analysis.

Evercore ISI issued a protein inflation Note last week that most protein prices are forecast to rise “substantially” due to higher feed costs, with chicken breast rising 70% year-over-year in the first half of 2022.

Unanue noted on “Fox & Friends Weekend” that beans are a good protein substitute for those trying to save amid the inflationary environment.

“Usually red, black, they’re rich in antioxidants,” he said. “Beans have protein, fiber, antioxidants, vital nutrients, and when you combine them [them] with rice you get a complete protein.

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“It’s pretty cheap and [a] full meal,” Unanue added.

Breck Dumas, Lydia Hu and Sumner Park of FOX Business, as well as Kyle Morris of Fox News and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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