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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 09:37 GMT 10:37 UK
Pasty prices 'affected by China'
Pasties date back to about 1300
A change in eating habits by millions of Chinese people has put pressure on the world-famous Cornish pasty market, according to pasty manufacturers.

As more and more Chinese people have turned from rice to bread, demand for wheat has increased, pushing up world prices for wheat, flour and cereals.

It has hit pasty production costs and forced manufacturers to raise charges.

Cornwall agricultural contractor Stephen Barrett says changing eastern eating habits have hit shop prices.

"Demand for wheat is affecting world markets," he said. "Raw materials are costing more, so people will have to pay more for their goods."

'People need pasties'

Nick Abbott, director of Plymouth-based family firm Ivor Dewdney, which specialises in pasties, said grain prices were "flying up through the roof".

He said: "But people need their pasties and there is only so much we can absorb, so prices rises will become inevitable eventually.

International economists tell us there is very much a shift away from the traditional diets in developing nations
Martin Howlett, National Farmers' Union

"There has been a 20% increase in the cost of wheat in the last six months and a further increase is expected before Christmas."

He said costs of margarine were also escalating as bio-fuel production used up crops and recent bad weather and floods had forced up prices of ingredients such as onions and potatoes.

Martin Howlett, Chairman of the Cornwall branch of the National Farmers' Union, said the bad weather had had a big impact on commodity prices, and added: "International economists tell us there is very much a shift away from the traditional diets in developing nations.

"As their economies move forward and they are able to afford it, there is a move away from things like rice to more westernised diets."

He said this was being reflected in the price of grain - and would also be seen soon in the cost of red meat.

Rain and wind have damaged European wheat crops

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