Nestle Chairman Brabeck Says Biofuels Helped Boost Food Prices

Biofuel production from agricultural commodities has contributed to surging world food prices in the past decade, said Nestle SA (NESN) Chairman Peter Brabeck-Letmathe.

Blaming the tripling of the price of some food products on speculation is “completely wrong,” and politicians have failed to consider the link with energy markets, Brabeck-Letmathe said at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture in Berlin.

“It is really unbelievable that when we have insufficient food in our world that we give it to cars,” Brabeck-Letmathe said. “I plead very openly, no food for fuel. Give the food to people but not to cars.”

World food prices as tracked by the United Nations’ Food & Agriculture Organization have more than doubled in the past 10 years, while the U.S. price of corn, a raw material for ethanol, has more than tripled.

“Financial speculation is not responsible for the increase in food prices, it’s responsible for the volatility of food prices but not the initial increase,” Brabeck-Letmathe said. He described making biofuels from food crops as “nonsense.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rudy Ruitenberg in Paris at rruitenberg@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Carpenter at ccarpenter2@bloomberg.net

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