A lesser known casualty of the ethanol debate about how the production of biofuels is causing the United States food prices to soar, is the fact that soy wax made from soybeans has also increased dramatically in price. This is effecting candlemakers across America and many candle companies are passing on their increased material price to the consumer--our company Double Brush is the exception. We are absorbing the price increase so our customers can still afford our Hawaiian handmade soy candles.
Three years ago our natural wax candle & gift company bought a palette of soy wax for $2068.00 and paid 501.00 in freight charges from the mainland to the Big Island, Hawaii. Today we had another shipment of soy wax delivered to us, and this time the palette of soy wax cost us $4,400.00 plus 632.00 in freight, more than double in cost, or more than a 100% increase in price!!
Our supplier told us that the prices across the board for all waxes, natural wax and paraffin wax (derived from Petroleum) increase in price every other day.
The reasons for the rising cost of soy wax are many and complex. I have spent hours researching online about this problem and I'm still trying to make sense of it all. I thought if I could present some of the information I have found, you could add your comments so we can figure this all out together.
Yesterday ABC news published an article "Food Scientist Say Stop Biofuels to Fight World Hunger--Scientists say stop biofuels to cut food prices and fight hunger, while President Bush calls for more ethanol production."
Some top international food scientists Tuesday recommended halting the use of food-based biofuels, such as ethanol, saying it would cut corn prices by 20 percent during a world food crisis.
But even as the scientists were calling for a moratorium, President Bush urged the opposite. He declared the United States should increase ethanol use because of national energy security and high gas prices.
The conflicting messages Tuesday highlighted the ongoing debate over food and fuel needs...
A World Bank study has estimated that corn prices "rose by over 60 percent from 2005-07, largely because of the U.S. ethanol program" combined with market forces...
Scientists say the diversion of corn and soybeans for fuel helps force prices higher, and removes farm land from food production. Ethanol supporters say the corn used for fuels is the type only fed to livestock. However, other experts say it leads to higher livestock feed prices, thus higher food prices.
The following is from another recent article published by MSNBC "Why your food is costing more money--Wheat, corn, and soybean prices are surging; is ethanol to blame?"
Food prices increased at a compound annual rate of 4.7 percent for the three months ending in February, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
That increase was far less than the 7.6 percent jump in energy prices for the same period, but it occurred in a financial environment in which investors have been fleeing declining dollar-denominated assets such as U.S. stocks and bonds. Instead, they've been investing in commodities, such as wheat, corn, and soybeans — and it's driving up their prices.
World financial markets may seem remote from you; far away from from that turkey sandwich in your hands.
But chew this over before you swallow: seventy percent of the cost of raising that turkey in your sandwich was the food it ate. And turkeys eat corn and soybean meal...
As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke explained to the Senate Banking Committee last month, “a significant portion of the corn crop is being diverted to ethanol, which raises corn prices.”
And he added, there are “knock-on effects. For example, some soybean acreage has been moved to corn production, which probably has some effect on soybean prices. So there is some price effect on foodstuffs coming through the conversion to energy use.”...
Sen. Ben Nelson, D- Neb., said, “I think this (food price inflation) is a short-term phenomenon,” because farmers will bring more land into production, causing supply to increase and prices to fall.
He also cited the costs of oil and transportation as contributors to higher food prices. “It’s just not right and it’s unfair to say it’s all about corn-based ethanol,” Nelson said.
Personally I support finding ways of becoming free from the use of oil and gas or "dirty energy", but ethanol is not the answer. There are many other alternatives being studied and developed that are sources of "clean energy" and would not impact the world's food supply. I have read and watched tv reports about making fuel from algae, seaweed, agricultural waste products, even garbage!!
As a small candle making business, we support the planet by producing environmentally friendly candles made from soy wax, a renewable resource.
We thank all of our customers who believe in what we do and buy our natural wax candles.