Rising energy and commodity prices Bread rolls to get dearer soon

Rhein-Sieg-Kreis · Since the start of the Ukraine war, the cost of energy and many foodstuffs has risen sharply. Theo Voigt, owner of the bakery with a strong presence in the region, mentions the consequences - for his business and also for the customers.

 Prices at the bakery are likely to rise soon. (Symbol photo)

Prices at the bakery are likely to rise soon. (Symbol photo)

Foto: dpa/Bernd Weissbrod

Founded in 1894 in Merten by Theodor Voigt, the family business has been baking bread, rolls and cakes on the industrial estate in Heimerzheim since 1995. Since the move, Voigt has expanded rapidly. While there were only six branches in 1995, the production now supplies 53 branches between Düren and Windeck, Cologne and Unkel every day.

In Bonn, the bakery is strongly represented with 18 branches, and in the Rhein-Sieg district there are 21 Voigt branches. In short: the company is the market leader in the region and wants to continue to "grow slowly", as managing director Theo Voigt explains in an interview with the GA. The company premises on the outskirts of Heimerzheim covers 20,000 square metres, of which 6000 square metres are built on. So there is the possibility of further expansion.

Moderate price increases

Flour in all its variations is the number one raw material for every bakery. Does Voigt also fear for his most important raw material in view of empty flour shelves in the supermarkets? After all, Ukraine is considered the granary of Europe, supplying grain and flour to Western European mills and bakeries.

No, says Voigt, he does not. Because he gets his flour from the Ellmühle, which produced in Cologne until January 2021 and now does so in Krefeld. And this mill in turn gets its grain from Germany and other countries in the European Union. Voigt gets his spelt flour from the Horbacher Mühle near Neunkirchen-Seelscheid. Paul von Boeselager's farm in Swisttal grows linseed for Voigt.

"Nevertheless, we will not be able to avoid moderately increasing the prices for bread and rolls," announces Theo Voigt, who joined the management in 1989 and now runs the company with his brother Andreas and son Martin. "Moderate" for Theo Voigt is an increase of about ten percent. There was already a three percent increase in February.

Hoping for understanding from customers

In addition, a two percent increase is planned, probably from 1 April. "A normal roll will then cost 40 cents instead of 37 cents. I think the customers will understand that and will not give up fresh rolls because of three cents more," says Voigt. In the case of bread, prices will only be raised for individual varieties. No bread will be more expensive than 3.70 Euro.

For Voigt, the planned price increase is not so much due to an expected shortage of flour as a result of the war in Ukraine and a possible cut in transport routes. He does not expect this to happen. The war will cause part of the harvest to fail, "but we will still be able to bake our bread", Voigt predicts. Rather, he cites the enormous increase in energy and raw material prices, which are also causing his company problems.

Costs have risen enormously

The Voigt bakery processes 130 tonnes of wheat and rye flour per month. The purchase prices for these grains have risen by 35 to 40 percent compared to the previous year. This means that a quintal of flour will cost up to 60 Euro from April. Prices for dairy products and eggs have also risen by up to 40 percent. Electricity costs 44 percent more, and the price of fuel has risen by as much as 50 percent. "With 35 vehicles, 7.5-tonne trucks and vans that we use every day, that's quite a lot," says Voigt.

In the medium term, he wants to convert his vehicle fleet from combustion engines to electric cars. Initially, six charging stations are planned. In the business itself, Voigt has installed a heat recovery system that collects the heat from the ovens and uses it to heat the water for the rinsing system. This means that no additional energy needs to be used for this process.

(Original text: Hans-Peter Fuss, Translation: Mareike Graepel)

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