Fast food chains White Castle and Wendy’s today will lobby Capitol Hill to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard on the grounds that fuel produced from soy, corn and other agricultural crops drives up food prices.
The new campaign, Feed Food Fairness: Take RFS Off the Menu, is organized by the National Council of Chain Restaurants.
The group says the RFS mandate manipulates the corn marketplace and increases commodity and food costs across the supply chain – from farmers and chain restaurants to consumers and diners.
The campaign kicks off at a press conference on Capitol Hill today. Speakers include Lisa Ingram, president of White Castle; Mark Behm, a Wendy’s franchise owner from Michigan; Steve Foglesong, a cattle producer and the former chair of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association; Robert J. Green, executive director of the NCCR; and House representative Bob Goodlatte, (R-Va.), NCCR says.
NCCR, a division of the National Retail Federation, is the trade association representing chain restaurant companies. The group has also voiced support for the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act, which aims to limit the scope and costs of the federal government’s requirements on the use of corn-based ethanol and other biofuels.
The group commissioned a PwC study that found that the federal mandate on corn-based ethanol substantially raised prices and costs for chain restaurants on a variety of inputs and commodities. The report concluded that if the RFS mandate and ethanol requirements were left unchanged it would increase chain restaurant industry costs by up to $3.2 billion a year for each year the RFS remains in effect.
A second report, The Renewable Fuel Standard and Consumer Food Prices, released by consulting group ABF Economics says that the increase in agricultural prices between 2005 and 2008 is coincident with rising biofuel production. The reports finds agricultural prices were primarily affected by the petroleum-led commodity price bubble and a combination of other factors.
Another reason for the price spike is the impact of weather on agricultural markets. This was highlighted most recently by the 2012 drought — the most severe in several decades — the report said.