WASHINGTON, DC, US – Production of whole wheat flour fell to a new recent low in 2022 and saw its share of the total flour market continue eroding, according to data issued Feb. 1 by the National Agricultural Statistics Service of the US Department of Agriculture.
Whole wheat flour production last year was 19.157 million cwts, down 631,000 cwts, or 3%, from 19.788 million cwts in 2021. With a down year in 2022, whole wheat flour production has fallen five consecutive years. Production of 19.157 million cwts was down 21% from the peak production figure of 24.115 million cwts in 2015.
Fourth-quarter data did nothing to interrupt the downward trend in whole wheat flour production. At 4.741 million cwts, whole wheat flour production in October-December was down 347,000 cwts from 5.088 million cwts in the same period in 2021 but was up 111,000 cwts from the third quarter. Whole wheat flour production in the fourth quarter accounted for 4.4% of all US flour production, versus 4.7% in October-December 2021 and 4.2% in the third quarter of 2022.
Whole wheat semolina production was 120,000 cwts, down 59,000 cwts, or 33%, from 179,000 cwts in the fourth quarter last year. Production was down 3,000 cwts from the third quarter. Whole wheat semolina production accounted for 1.5% of total semolina production in the fourth quarter, compared with 2.4% in October-December 2021.
For the full year, whole wheat semolina production totaled 422,000 cwts, down 40% from 707,000 cwts in 2021.
For whole wheat flour ex-semolina, production in the fourth quarter was 4.621 million cwts, down 288,000 cwts, or 6%, from 4.909 million cwts in the final quarter the year before. Production was up 5% from the third quarter. Whole wheat flour ex-semolina accounted for 4.7% of all whole wheat flour production in the fourth quarter, versus 4.9% a year earlier.For the full year, production of whole wheat flour ex-semolina was 18.735 million cwts, down 346,000 cwts, or 1.8%, from 19.081 million cwts the year before.