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Friday, September 7, 2012

Bread Flour Pricing

I doubt it costs any more to make "bread flour" (or "better for bread" flour) than it costs to make regular flour.  But supermarkets will try to gouge you here (I'm assuming it's the supermarkets, not the wholesalers, because if it were the wholesalers, the supermarkets would all go to the cheaper brands).  In the DC area, Shoppers Food Warehouse stocks only the "King Arthur" brand bread flour, and sells it for a whopping $4.79 for a 5 pound bag.  Giant stocks "Gold Medal" bread flour, and sells it for only $3.29.  So if you think you can trust Shoppers to always give you the best prices, think again.

As usual, after I wrote this I checked to see how well known this phenomenon was.  It turns out King Arthur costs more everywhere -- in some places twice as much as Gold Medal -- and is considered by some to be a better brand of flour than the others.  But the one guy who tested King Arthur side by side with Gold Medal (Northwest Sourdough) liked them both a lot, but actually liked Gold Medal a little bit better.

So (consistent with my practice of not usually editing myself after I find new facts, but rather simply "correcting" myself later in the post), Shoppers is not being quite as nefarious as I thought -- they have limited shelf-space for bread flour and they choose a brand that bread connoisseurs may well prefer.  But it doesn't hurt them that the profit margin on that sort of "gourmet" item will be greater than for your standard Gold Medal bag of bread flour.

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