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Food Inflation Everywhere, But Not A Bit In CPI (Yet)

Tyler Durden's picture


Reported U.S. food inflation has been a paltry 1.6% over the last 12 months, one of the lowest growth rates in food & beverage CPI since late 2010. However, ConvergEx's Nick Colas notes that the severe drought in the Midwest over the summer of 2012 will likely drive up food costs this year 3-4% across the board, by the USDA’s estimates. These headline numbers, however, don’t accurately reflect the prices of the real "basket of goods" that we bring to the checkout counter every week at the grocery store. Consequently, Colas warns, the CPI report doesn’t necessarily mirror the increase in our grocery bill. Nor does it take into accountdifferent food choices (e.g. healthy vs. junk food), farm prices, or demographics, all of which the USDA publishes separately. The actual, visible inflation at the checkout counter may lead the American consumer to think – perhaps inaccurately – that overall CPI is rising or falling at a similar pace. For a more detailed, accurate reflection of food CPI, then, we have to aggregate all of these indicators to see how they compare to overall CPI. In short, inflationary expectations may well be set to rise dramatically in 2013: “shopping cart inflation” was upwards of 1.3% last month, almost double the 0.7% overall CPI.


Via Nick Colas, ConvergEx,

I have the pleasure of being the primary grocery shopper and cook when I return home to New Jersey to visit my parents, a “privilege” my mother happily bestows upon me when I arrive. Both of my parents recently became vegans – with the rare exception of pizza, of course – in an effort to improve their health and cut the risk for future disease. While I can attest to the fact that the vegan lifestyle has vastly improved both, unfortunately I cannot say the same for their wallets. When we made the switch from steak to tofu and from hamburgers to stir-fries, the weekly grocery bill was suddenly higher. Turns out the “vegan” foods – mainly fruits, veggies, grains, and beans – add up much faster than lunch meat and frozen entrees.

In hindsight, the higher grocery bill shouldn’t have come as a surprise: prices are higher, and increase faster, in certain foods rather than others. The expected results from the drought last summer are only one example: corn, poultry, and produce prices are expected to surge as the corn shortage comes full circle. The USDA’s food CPI forecast for 2013, which you can find here, predicts a 3-4% rise in its basket of goods in 2013, with dairy product and fresh fruit & vegetable prices rising more than 4%. These foods supposedly make up 13.3% of the USDA’s “basket” (in relative importance) for the year.

Unfortunately, these weightings don’t seem to accurately represent the real world  baskets Americans bring to the checkout at their local supermarkets. The top 10 purchased items in US food stores, according to various surveys, are (1) milk, (2) bread, (3) eggs, (4) beef, (5) chicken, (6) cereal, (7) salty snacks, (8) lettuce, (9) cheese, and (10) non-alcoholic beverages (juice and soda). While the USDA reports only 0.1% food inflation (seasonally-adjusted) for February 2013, these top items actually rose an average of 1.3% over last month. It would seem, then, that our shopping carts are getting more expensive than the headlines numbers might indicate. If, as these surveys suggest, we purchase items growing faster in price more often than those that decline or stagnate, these foods could have a disproportionate – and in this case, inflationary – impact on what we expect overall inflation to be. This is what economists call, unsurprisingly, “Inflationary expectations” and everyone from Fed Chairman Bernanke on down to the most junior staffer at a regional Fed worry intensely over these popular perceptions of future inflation.

We perused the USDA CPI data to find out which food (or foods) is costing us more, and which might help us save a few bucks. Healthy eaters beware: the data is not on your side.

Lettuce and apples have risen the most in price compared to February 2012, up 24.5% and 11.1%, respectively. Both items are, admittedly, out of season in February; but remember, these are like-month comparisons. The rising cost of lettuce in particular may hurt the American consumer, as it is one of the most frequently purchased items. Lean meats have also grown much more in price than their more “fattening” counterparts: chicken is up 5.0% over last year and turkey 5.1%, while pork is down -1.5% and ham up only 1.0%.


Lettuce, hot dogs and fresh fruit grew the most in price from January to February 2013, up 6.4% on average.


Potatoes, sweeteners, and bread products, on the other hand, are less expensive than they were just last year, down an average of -4.6%. Lamb and mutton products are the single cheapest item in comparison to last February, down -16.6%; coffee is also surprisingly lower, down -4.1%. The products that fill out the less-expensive group, however, are not necessarily what you might consider “healthy”: butter, sugar, and fats & oils, are all among the top “losers” in price.


Compared to the month prior, tomatoes, frozen fish, and peanut butter have declined the most in price, down an average of -3.8%.


It may also cost you to be “health-conscious” when choosing different iterations of a certain product, according to the BLS’s CPI data. Wheat bread, for example, rises in price much faster than white bread, and buying whole milk is becoming more expensive than less-fat versions. Fresh produce is constantly climbing in price (especially out-of-season fruits and veggies), while frozen and canned versions are dropping in cost. Unfortunately, health-conscious is not akin to price-conscious.


While food away from home typically climbs at a faster rate than food at home (+2.3% over last year vs. 1.6% for at-home), the USDA predicts that home-cooked food will actually grow faster in 2013: 3-4% vs. 2.5-3.5%. Fresh produce and dairy products are expected to be the most expensive in 2013 compared to last year, up 3.5%-4.5%. Somewhat surprisingly, though, poultry prices are not expected to grow more than the market basket as a whole, despite worries of a surge thanks to the corn shortage.


Finally, according to the USDA’s farm price spread reports, retail prices at grocery stores in 2012 were well on their way back to pre-recession highs in 2011 (the latest data available). By this unwelcome measure the U.S. economy has clearly “recovered” quite well.

A little information about our food consumption habits might be able to tell us where our grocery bills are headed as well. The USDA conducted a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey in 2002, and has updated figures on food availability and consumption each year since: the latest data available was released in September 2012. Consumption data, which is parceled out by several demographic parameters, is the most useful as somewhat of an alternative indicator for our activity at the grocery store. Our main findings were not what we expected, to say the least:

Poundage-wise, Americans take in the majority of our food in fruits and vegetables, followed closely by dairy products. The single most-consumed item by weight is milk; oranges come second. This data point is surprising, given the stories of declining milk consumption, like this one from the WSJ. It is also notable considering neither of these two items is one of the top purchased items at grocery stores. 


The biggest food consumers, based on poundage of food eaten per year, are Caucasian, college-educated, high-income male adults between the ages of 20 and 39 who maintain a healthy weight. According to the data, high-income households (300% above the poverty line) consume 13% more pounds of food each year; males eat 24% more than females; and college-educated persons eat 22% more than those with less than a high school diploma. Those identifying as Hispanic tend to eat the most at home, while Caucasians eat the most away from home.


Most surprisingly, persons with a “healthy weight” eat 7% more pounds of food per year than obese persons. The key here, as you might expect, is substance: obese persons eat the least fruit and more meat than overweight or healthy-weight people. Interestingly, though, they come up to par on veggies, fats & oils, and grains. 

These observations, combined with the data from the USDA’s CPI, point to one simple conclusion: we’re all going to feel (and might already be feeling) the pinch at the grocery store, even if we don’t elsewhere. Some of us, according to the USDA data, may feel it more than others: those with male children between the ages of 2-11, for example, might expect to spend a bit more on produce, as these kids are the single biggest consumers of those quickly inflating apples in the country. College-educated women between the ages of 40-59, meanwhile, might find themselves eating less salad: the biggest consumers of lettuce may not enjoy a 25% increase in price.

All of this analysis ultimately comes back around to that econo-geeky topic of “Inflationary expectations.”  Though food CPI is certainly the most tangible inflation indicator to most Americans, it is important to know it is not the only one; there’s a reason the BLS prints an “all items less food” number. That’s not to say it should be ignored, of course. It wouldn’t do to overlook price increases in the commodities that take up a full 15% of our income, on average. We just may need to extrapolate it from how we view inflation overall. And if there is a real bout of food inflation brewing – with some major demographics feeling a distinct pinch – that may well be enough to change the level of consumers’ expectations for future price increase in and out of the grocery store. 


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Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:30 | 3434719 Zer0head
Zer0head's picture

food in the US is cheap

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:31 | 3434726 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



Food cheap.

Taxes expensive...


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:49 | 3434807 icanhasbailout
icanhasbailout's picture

food is cheap when it comes with oily anal leakage

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:07 | 3434857 Supernova Born
Supernova Born's picture

Cheap as in crap, inexpensive as in bullshit.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:50 | 3435017 Key-Rick
Key-Rick's picture

Define food.  GMO Frankenfood is not on my table. home or locally grown only.  still quite cheap. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:21 | 3435112 francis_sawyer
francis_sawyer's picture

Whether food is cheap or not totally depends on what's in your basket [both quality & pricewise]...


That said... Food, relative to the ever shrinking dollar is still one of the better bargains out there [when you compare it to either ammo or gasoline]...

In 2012, for example... I spent more time 'stocking up' on food than either of the other two [especially when ammo went gonzo]...

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:15 | 3435536 bonderøven-farm ass
bonderøven-farm ass's picture

Food is inexpensive so long as you're not depending on others to do the 'dirty' work for you.  My wife and I spent less than $600 last year at the grocery store; a good portion of that on wine for guests.  A weekend gardner with evening maintenance can easily provide all of the vegetables necessary for several people on a 50'x50' untilled plot year round (using hotbed row techniques during the Winter months). 

Cut out the middle-man, snub the corporate over-lords, become a friction to the machine....grow your own bitchez......

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 15:33 | 3437787 thisandthat
thisandthat's picture

Define cheap - when it comes to your health, what is expensive?

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:52 | 3435566 valley chick
valley chick's picture

+1 for anal leakage reference aka "tuna" in a can.   Been canning my own tuna...real tuna.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 08:59 | 3435814 minosgal
minosgal's picture

dumb questions, if you don't mind ---

do you scald it first (as in salmon prep)? or just regular 110 minutes/10 lbs pressure?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:52 | 3434812 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

Food prices in the US are noticeably cheaper vs many comparable countries. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:20 | 3434916 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Perhaps if compared only as percentage of income and looking at the average American consumer who eats processed GMO garbage. Our bill is incrediblely high because we buy only staples: meat, vegetables, seasonal fruit, raw jersey milk. We shop mostly at farmers market and a local natural food store. For a family of three we spend $900/month for groceriesif we are very careful, but $1200 is more the norm. This is dramatically higher than what we spend just 3years ago. Personal experience trumps CPI in my book.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:07 | 3435072 The Second Rule
The Second Rule's picture

And who's to blame for that? Maybe that in the last election big ag blocked the labeling of GMO foods so that consumers might actually know what they are buying?

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:17 | 3435242 James_Cole
James_Cole's picture

I was speaking anecdotally, but there are also websites that compare such things. For your family of three in the US this site suggests approx. 775$, not far off from your estimate.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:31 | 3434728 Hopium Dealer
Hopium Dealer's picture

you must have a EBT card.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:34 | 3434744 Cdad
Cdad's picture

Don't feed the "instant response trolls" please.  Thank you.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:43 | 3434779 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

There's only one thing to do now:



Thu, 04/11/2013 - 04:41 | 3435491 Sudden Debt
Sudden Debt's picture

compaired to Europe it is cheap.

But American food doesn't look like European food at all!

Just buy some ribs, and compaire those to european ribs. There about 3 times bigger.

And the reason? Steroids and other crap.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:42 | 3435560 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

American food prices benefit from USD hegemony.  Between the 50% discount (courtesy of the MIC) and domestic subsidies (which every country uses to disguise price discovery) most Americans have no idea what the true "cost" of their food is, and thus have the luxury of wasting huge quantities of food (and Frankenfood) on a per-capita basis (for now).   

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:50 | 3435564 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

I just hope that the TAFTA, the Transatlantic Trade (Zone) deal does not happen, otherwise we europeans will also have the dubious honour of Frankenfood consumption. MIC? what's that?

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 07:52 | 3435630 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

Military Industrial Complex

I thought they already had Frankenfood in your neck of the woods?  I seem to be surrounded by it on all sides- with the local holdouts being increasingly branded extremist (whether SVP or Green).

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 11:45 | 3436669 Ghordius
Ghordius's picture

just some of them at EU level, and stronger restrictions depending from the country - the CH would be middle-of-the-road, in an eurocomparison

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:32 | 3434733 Banksters
Banksters's picture

THe sky could be raining red hot railroad spikes, and bernank and da gov would tell you the world is fine.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:48 | 3434794 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Do you have any idea how many windows a squall of raining railroad spikes would break?  Not just fine.  Mega bullish.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:45 | 3434996 wee-weed up
wee-weed up's picture

It's very simple really...

the Obama Admin bureaucrats are fucking with the CPI numbers! Period!

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 03:39 | 3435444 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

They've been screwing with statistics since telling the truth got Carter thrown out of office (that and the Repubs cuttiong a deal with the Iranians to hold the hostages until after the elections in exchange for arms from the new administration).  BOTH parties lie like hell to sty in office.  NOBODY is telling the truth.

W's whole presidency had negative GDP 'growth' iof you factored in the real inflation rate.   




Thu, 04/11/2013 - 08:44 | 3435764 Chief_Illiniwek
Chief_Illiniwek's picture

Ya' think...????

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:40 | 3434755 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

your right, the quality is extremely cheap.

You can thank Monsanto...and your government

we, of course, have also exported our inflation

but we're losing that battle

and it's accelerating

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:56 | 3434808 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

Looking at her slightly bent plastic water bottle, my girl friend asked me the other day, "how come this water bottle plastic is so thin the bottle is crooked?"

My response: "Inflation"

_ _

"I see!"

PS. Image not to scale. Not Chinese either, she's Qwerty.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:55 | 3434827 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Exactly right. 

Further supporting the article's point is the amount of .gov subsidies within certain food industries (e.g., meat, grain, dairy)

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:05 | 3434855 Just Ice
Just Ice's picture

Speaking of cheap quality, very tired of going into stores to see huge oversized veggies on offer... if gmo has caused the food to become grossly deformed and overbloated in size, what does the food then cause the people consuming it to become?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:13 | 3434891 Ms. Erable
Ms. Erable's picture

I always get a kick out of the net containing 4 garlic bulbs that are exactly the same size and shape.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 01:21 | 3435343 zhandax
zhandax's picture

Easily done when you charge twice the price of the bulk garlic at the farmer's market.  BTW, it is called a fist rather than a bulb.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:59 | 3434847 prains
prains's picture

food in the US is cheap

if it comes in a box, wrapper, container, or some other sign of a mechanical process it's most likely NOT FOOD, it's a product to eaten but doesn't necessarily mean it contains nourishment for your body. It does however contain LOTS OF CALORIES, but typically a body requires nourishment in the form of nutrients, minerals etc. Processed edible products rarely contain nutrients but swap them out for calories. Hence 75% of Americans are sporting a front bum.

There's a saying "you're overfed, but under nourished" which translates to you are FAT but STARVING.


FOOD are the things brought to you by mother nature, 3.5 million years of eating it doesn't lie

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:08 | 3434873 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Protein has skyrocketed...

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 07:45 | 3435621 Esso
Esso's picture

Right, that ensures a population of obese, diabetic, walking heart attacks.

The government recommended grain-based diet makes for a fat, sickly, citizenry too weak to fight them and ensnared by a govt run hellcare system designed to bleed their wealth away.

Mission Accomplished!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:14 | 3434889 Ted K
Ted K's picture

Paging Dr. Bruce Krasting, Paging Dr. Bruce Krasting, X-ray on patient for "Don't know what the f*ck you're talking about on inflation" reads benign for inflation. Go back to "Shrill for Gold", do not collect $200.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:15 | 3434897 Charles Nelson ...
Charles Nelson Reilly's picture

Yeah, real cheap when you're shopping at Walmart and shoving every single GMO laced product they have in the place down your throat. I love running into 9 year olds there that weigh more than me.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:18 | 3434907 orez65
orez65's picture

Compared with other countries, yes.

But it is rising on a monthly basis.

For example potatoes have risen to $0.99 per pound.

Then there is the "stealth" inflation.

For example, a "half gallon" of orange juice used to contain 64 ounces now it contains 59 ounces.

A can of tuna fish and a bag of pita chips have been "stealthed" also ... 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:31 | 3435150 ImReady
ImReady's picture

Most Americans could use a 25% reduction in food. Inflation problem solved! 

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 01:38 | 3435359 zhandax
zhandax's picture

Re-read the article.  People eating healthy foods consume 7% more (according to the author, I didn't calculate this).  I agree with you in spirit.  DIng dongs and hohos need a 100% reduction.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:32 | 3434725 Cdad
Cdad's picture


One of your truly helpful that of summarizing things in the first 60 or so words within any post you write.  And for the lack of time everywhere around me, I thank you for that.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:32 | 3434729 djsmps
djsmps's picture

Give me a fucking break. I've seen increases of 30-40% in certain food items.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:40 | 3434763 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture


has anyone calculated it with the quantity reductions?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:42 | 3434768 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

About 1984.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:54 | 3434823 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

Disposable. Razor. Cartridges.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:58 | 3434836 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Yes!  I reverted to an electric for this reason, after about a year of stretching standard Gilette's well beyond its recommended lifespan.  Razor costs are truly unbelievable.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:12 | 3434883 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Tell me about it.

I've been buying Mach 3 dispozables in bulk from Costco for 10+ years.  They've gone from 20/pkg to 16, and have doubled in price.  $50/pkg now! Usually lasts me close to 6 months, but fuck...

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:29 | 3435143 Burnbright
Burnbright's picture

That is why you should buy a saftey razor. You can buy a cheap one for $25 and a 10 pack of high end blades (feather) for $6 lasts a long time. If you clean the blades after every shave with hot water and a cotton cloth a blade lasts me about a month shaving 2-3 times a week. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:28 | 3434940 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I barely remember the rampant food inflation in the 70s being a teenager but I can't say I have any recollection of size reductions. Perhaps this is why it was so keenly felt. I guess it's easier to fool people today with smaller containers.


Thu, 04/11/2013 - 03:42 | 3435446 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Your old rectangular bar of soap has a big scoop taken out of it now.......looks like the same size in the wrapper but 15% of it is gone before you start using it.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 13:17 | 3437136 akak
akak's picture

Ivory Soap has recently reduced the width of their bars of soap, making the first change in the weight and dimensions of their standard bar in over 100 years.  Accompanied by not just no reduction in price, but actually an increase (although probably not as much of an increase, obviously, than it would have been if they had remained honest with their product and not tried to play the shrinking game).

My comments to the 'customer service' representative at P & G on the matter were numerous, caustic and livid.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:03 | 3435227 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Huggies diapers went from 116 to 104 diapers per box this winter. Second or third time the toddler's diaper box has shrunk. It's 11.5% increase calculating on a per diaper basis.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:32 | 3434737 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Shocking... Anyone that eats real food, and shops for their items regularly, and doesnt deviate from their staples knows full well the extent of the inflation and the BS, we are fed, no pun, to believe there is little to no inflation.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:10 | 3434874 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Prices have nearly trebled in a decade or roughly running 10% per year. Applies across the board to most consumer staples

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:05 | 3435231 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

When the EBT people switch from buying cases of 20oz bottles to two-liter bottles, that's deflation! And when they switch again to Kool-aid, that's deflation again!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:33 | 3434739 valkir
valkir's picture

I still remeber Bernank face last year,when Ron Paul asked him-do you do grocery shoping?Bernak answer-yes,i do.But he never confess,there is inflation in grocery prices.What a liar.

Fuck you bernanke.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:31 | 3434956 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Maybe he only shops in the 99 cent chicken aisle. As long as you don't venture in any other area in the store all is good.


Thu, 04/11/2013 - 13:18 | 3437166 akak
akak's picture

And of course we all know, Miffed, that constant inflation-adjusted prices prove that there is no inflation.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 13:47 | 3437276 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

Yes akak, I have so struggled with that concept! But I think I have found the solution. I have decided if I also index the size of the foods I consume propotional to reduction in the size of the container then yes there is no inflation. I also get an additional benefit in that my clothes will be markedly looser. Unfortunately if carried to the extreme my hair my all fall out and I could pass out and fall in to a coma. But that could never happen. Things will be okay before that point right? Maybe the hefties today have prepped better than I.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:32 | 3434740 The Invisible Foot
The Invisible Foot's picture

I knew I was still getting fucked. Thanks Uncle Ben!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:37 | 3434757 billwilson
billwilson's picture

The bigger issue is smaller and smaller packages for the same price. I am not sure how much smaller they can get without disappearing.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:23 | 3434926 ghengis86
ghengis86's picture


Thu, 04/11/2013 - 02:01 | 3435385 zhandax
zhandax's picture

I buy as much as I can by the pound.  It may mean going to the farmer's market, the international market, Amazon, whatever, but it seems to work.  That reminds me, I am almost out of basmati brown rice.  Hope Amazon has it back in stock.  Had to buy the last 20 pounds on eBay.  Took nine months to run out, though.  There is a bright side; SHTF, and you can eat through a supply chain disruption.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:11 | 3435237 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Don't worry. They'll gradually introduce "value size" packaging. Like half-gallons of juice and ice cream, 1-lb bags of coffee, 5-lb bags of sugar.

For your convenience!

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 03:43 | 3435447 cynicalskeptic
cynicalskeptic's picture

Package is the same - just has a LOT more air inside now.   Check the weight - lots of odd weights now - reduced from the old even full or half pounds.....

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:37 | 3434758 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Who cares. TVs/Apple stuff/other useless crap is getting cheaper and have moar features... 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:39 | 3434761 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

Bitcoins are in inflation. Blame that on the monetary policies too.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:40 | 3434765 Spastica Rex
Spastica Rex's picture

If you're affected by rising food prices, understand this: the economy isn't about you.

FOAD, already.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:45 | 3434790 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Well said!  But the pitchforks and torches are all about US...

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:41 | 3434766 CrimsonAvenger
CrimsonAvenger's picture

Wait a minute, the guy who's telling us about inflation is actually named COLA? Are they just making shit up now to have fun with us?

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 05:37 | 3435517 Disenchanted
Disenchanted's picture

Cheap Offal Leakage Anal

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:43 | 3434774 surf0766
surf0766's picture

The size and quantity of the packages is getting smaller and smaller. It used to change once a year. Now I see them changing sizes a few times a yeat of lesser quantity in the sam package. It is all a scam.



Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:08 | 3434869 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

"It's all a scam"

While I agree in principle, I don't blame retailers nearly as much as I blame inflation's source (perverted markets caused by excess currency units)

Retail is about as raw as it gets; producers are forced to adapt to market requirements.  Admittedly this may mean retailers are gambling that customers will notice price spikes before content reductions. 

Of course the above doesn't address the larger issue of food quality, but that's a separate topic.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:17 | 3435097 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Value of the dollar is falling as well.  Global auctions with USD bidding against stronger currencies. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:49 | 3434775 JustObserving
JustObserving's picture

The CPI is a big con game played by the US.

The US uses hedonic adjustments to its Consumer Price Index (CPI) and with you can massage data to produce whatever outcome you desire. For example, if computer speeds increase 50% a year, and the computer price stays the same, the US assumes that you are getting 50% more computer for your money. So even if the sales of computers remain the same in dollar terms, the GDP portion of computers has gone by 50%, And inflation rate for computers is -33%. Such is the miracle of hedonic adjustments.

This hedonic adjustment is applied to everything produced in the US economy. If prices go up for cars by say 10%, the US can assume that 7% of that increase was caused by quality improvements and the real inflation is only 3%. From 1967 to 1999, the price of a car in the US increased by 6.42 times. But the US BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) reported an increase of 2.83 times. So 56% of the increase in the price of a car was hedonically adjusted away.

These adjustments are far more egregious for computers and they contribute to at least 25% of the growth of the GDP. As a rule of thumb, US inflation is understated by about 4%. So US growth is overstated by 4%. So instead of 0.4% growth in the last quarter of 2012, the economy was shrinking at 3.6%.

If you correct the US economy for these adjustments over the last 10 years, US GDP is only about $10 trillion instead of the conventionally assumed $15.5 trillion now. And the economy is now in recession, shrinking instead of growing at rates that makes Europe envious of the miracle of US growth.

There are damned lies, statistics and statistics generated by the US BLS. But everyone seems to report US economic numbers as if they were gospel. The truth is so hideous that it must be protected by a phalanx of adjustments.

When it becomes serious, you have to lie Jean-Claude Juncker


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:44 | 3434786 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

I'm noticing smaller packages for same price.  Lower quality ingredients.  Disappearance of items in bulk - only smaller boxes now.  Fewer foreign foods.

And more and more people are shopping at the local discount no-frills supermarket.  I expect Safeway, Quality Foods and such - with their much higher prices and unionized labour - to go under one day.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:54 | 3434828 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

I think Safeway and QFC will be fine. Albertson's has shit products and underpaid employees, and they've been closing stores left and right in these parts.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:37 | 3435165 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Aldi's on a tear upstate

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:45 | 3434793 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Find a local farmer and buy your meat in bulk.

I just upped my 100% grass-fed beef order from 1/2 to 3/4 side @ $3.50/lb, and added 1/2 pig.

Worth every penny, at least half the price of what I pay for equivalents at the grocers. Good inflation hedge too.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 01:06 | 3435323 RaceToTheBottom
RaceToTheBottom's picture

I need a garage freezer

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 13:19 | 3437174 akak
akak's picture

I didn't realize that garages needed to be kept frozen.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:49 | 3434801 bnbdnb
bnbdnb's picture

CPI only matters if you are rich and dont give a fuck.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:52 | 3434805 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I filled the freezer with venison this year. Total cost to me... $20 for one lost arrow and $65 for a hunting license. Time enjoying the peace and quiet in a tree.... Priceless.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:53 | 3434822 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

I'd love to get into bow-hunting. Several of my coworkers do it and eat on the cheap.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:58 | 3434837 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I love bow-hunting. It's a good feeling putting food on the table that you've taken using your own skill-set. I own several guns, but it's very seldom that I will use one hunting. It's not quite as satisfying to me.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:58 | 3434842 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

I took a bow-hunting class for my buddy's bachelor party last month. It was fucking awesome.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:06 | 3434864 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

A hunting we will go...some guys/gals have had venizen?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:06 | 3434865 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

That's great and it sounds fulfilling and I fully support your right and desire to kill your own food rather than letting Food Inc do it for you.  Just remember that if every person were out bowhunting with you, there would be no deer.   

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:13 | 3434892 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

...and if someone and/or a group of people decided to start a deer farm?  What then?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:35 | 3434952 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Somehow I don't think there'd be as much sport in it (the whole point of Engali's post I think), but if you want to go kill deer on a deer farm with Dick Cheney then have at it. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:42 | 3434988 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Funny, but you're not being honest.  Your original response was a thinly veiled insult.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:00 | 3435026 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

My post is a factual observation.  Conversely, Engali was clearly making the point that most people are missing out on the simple pleasure of hunting.  In response to an article on food inflation, Engali was stating or certainly implying that he has a simple solution that gives him personal pleasure and the superiority of avoiding that which plagues all of the less self-sufficient folks who shop at the grocery store.   Yet if all the shoppers learned bow hunting and joined him in the field (or worse, if they didn't learn but instead just went down to the local gun store and bought a rifle they don't know how to use), his simple pleasure would be no more.   If pointing out an obvious, objective, provable fact is an insult, you may want to rethink your perspective.  Yes, this also applies to your politics though the point is not as easily made because the issues are more complex. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:08 | 3435074 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Uh, no.  Your inferences are not the same thing as what Doc said in his original post.

Besides, my larger point is this:  suppose owns a ton of land, carefully breeds deer, then issues bow hunting permits? 

You referred to the 'tragedy of the commons' - a condition plaguing public lands only.  Nowhere in your knee-jerk response did you consider market alternatives.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:19 | 3435092 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Are you serious?  First, there is a finite amount of land that would support deer.  Second, there are plenty of deer hunters that would already pay good money to hunt in your scenario yet it doesn't exist in any way that would feed more than a tiny fraction of those who would pay for it.  There is no law prohibiting it, yet it doesn't exist.   Third, if 5 billion people started hunting deer on your mythical free market deer ranch there would be a lot of hungry and dead people and no remaining deer.  Same result if you let 4.9 billion people starve and the remaining people who could pay for it were hunting the same land.  Not to mention that the 4.9 billion people who are starving may just overrun your vast deer property anyway.  How about we all just agree that we can hunt unicorn in free market fairy land and we'll all live happily ever after.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:28 | 3435131 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

You are right Rand. If too many people get out in the field it he deer population would be quickly depleted. The deer populatin has to be managed... too many and they start starving themselves out and become a hazard to the human population. What I am seeing now that the economy is so bad is that more people are hitting the woods. That means more pressure on the deer. If we ever get into a TEOTWAWKI situation, the deer population will be quickly decimated.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:26 | 3435132 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Well I'm convinced, I now see the error in my ways (/sarc)

Good to see the real LTER is back, retarded though he may be.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:32 | 3435142 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Right.  Why don't you tell me why I'm wrong rather than simply stating that I am wrong?  Oh, because you can't.   Thank the Good Lord for blind ideology and endless fields where unicorns can run free for easy hunting.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:40 | 3435176 Almost Solvent
Almost Solvent's picture

Pants McPants is a fucking moron who thinks mother earth can not only support current human population but many more.

Fuck him in the ear.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:55 | 3435211 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

US scale of income equality

Global income equality

Wealthy class use much more recource than teh poor combined.  Considering the use of energy in their homes, the food consumption, the refuse (waste) discharged from their individual units, the resources they require to function (travel and live), you will find the richest class use far more and, more importantly, waste more (look at the amount of garbage they produce and products they require to sustain their lifestyle).

Food, water, air, land to farm, energy to cook, maintain comfortable living conditions, a house, a church,  a school, and vacation and a retirement is what every family on earth deserves and they'd able to acquire these things if the rich did not hoard, manipulate, exploit and make $ bet on every move they make.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:54 | 3435306 bunnyswanson
bunnyswanson's picture

Down vote without a comment?  Just as I would expect from a weak argument.

The wealth stays at the top, a cull results in a work force, management and them.


The global community is brought to middle class lifestyle, begin first with a global media storm in order to inform All of us that existance on this planet is about to change whether we like it or not. 

The very attempt to create this existence of a fabrciated society designed to keep competition down and those at the top, always at the top, is a troubling truth of how out of touch the very wealthy are.  The idiosyncranisities we all have will be used against us in a world where humans have lost their value due to over supply.  This is not necessary.  In 100 years, this problem can be fixed by the greatest minds on the planet.  Yet, I see culling several hundred million people by a garotte called poverty is your preference. 

You need to rethink this.  A lot of good people are going to go down when it is said and done.  Trust should be completely and totally lost in all mankind as the USA becomes the latest "car accident" to gawk at on the fucking news.  Big picture mean anything to you people?  Do you understand that there will be no turning back once this is firmly in place and troops are on the street.  The fascist corporatist kingdom run by men who can't get rich enough will be a programmable life, robotic and you will see that nothing gets by them.  It's a failure of man to have allowed this to evolve as it has.

Stalked is what life will be.  The Police (Every Breath You Take)

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:01 | 3435223 Pants McPants
Pants McPants's picture

Your point?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:19 | 3434909 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

..and if you hunt with some ex vice prezs, you might not be too..

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:25 | 3434933 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Ted Kennedy's car has killed more people than an ex-vice presidents gun on a hunting trip.

Of course you know, its the gun and the car that kills...right? ;-)

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:39 | 3434978 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

For fuck's sake -- his brother killed a lot more people than he did with Vietnam, bay of pigs, etc.   Give an idiot a gun or a car or a military industrial complex, and people die.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:20 | 3434917 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Just remember, if they didn't, there would be a whole lot more insurance claims and deaths from city idiots moving out into the countryside (suburbia) driving 90 miles an hour in a fiddyfive without a care in the world.

The deer...was unrecoverable, wasted & stupid too ;-)

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:32 | 3434962 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

I'm all for people hunting deer as I stated in my post.  In fact, I advocate it.   We don't have predators any more due to urbanization of most areas and the desire of ranchers and families not to have predators around, so hunting by people is a necessary form of animal control.  I'm just pointing out what many hunters who preach the virtue of hunting forget -- if they convinced too many people of the merits of their chosen form of feeling self-sufficient, they'd be fucked.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 07:12 | 3435585 Urban Redneck
Urban Redneck's picture

That's over-simplification with some truth, just as is saying that 20% of the hunters are responsible for 80% of the sheer stupidity that we have all witnessed while hunting or observing hunters. 

Most hunters are cognizant of herd maintenance issues.  

Private land owners who lease their land for hunting are particularly cognizant of herd maintenance- and self-regulate out of economic interest despite being in an unregulated industry.

Even if the byzantine regulations that apply to individual hunters were relaxed/abolished (e.g. no tags or unlimited tags) private hunting preserves would not permit unlimited hunting.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:26 | 3434920 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

That's true if everybody could bow hunt. Most people are a bigger danger to themselves than they are to the deer. The problem comes from the ruckus they make. True story.... It was opening day during gun season and I was hunting on public land. Dawn rolls around and I see/ hear the craziest thing in a neighboring field. There was a doe in the middle of the field and no less than 5 yahoos unloaded their guns at the deer. The deer just bounded away. It was funnier than watching a cartoon. I always lived by the rule that if I didn't get the deer with the first shot I'm not getting it , so save the ammo for later.

Edit... That was the last time I ever hunted public property.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:34 | 3434971 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Good thing those yahoos can shop at the grocery store or everyone would be hungry.  Aren't you glad that more city-folk don't ruin your hunting trips?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:20 | 3435106 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

We were in Colorado on opening day of deer season and some guy had spray painted in bright orange " cow" on a few of his animals. I hoped it was just a joke.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:34 | 3435161 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

Lol. That's funny. I can honestly say I've never seen that here in Indiana.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:27 | 3435548 GCT
GCT's picture

We have done it on my brother in laws farm in Arkansas Doc.  Some hunters do not need to be out there hunting.  If you do not know the difference between a dam cow and a deer you have no business in the woods.

Do you use a compound or a cross bow Doc?   

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 13:31 | 3437222 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

At my mother-in-laws farm in Spokane the farmers got sick and tired of people driving 75 mile/hr on there country road. So they constructed a mannequin of a white tail on the roadside hoping the speeders would slow down to avoid a deer jumping out. The next day they found their model shot to bits. And this wasn't even during hunting season! My mother in law will only allow bow hunters on her 100 acres during dear season. Too many yahoos with guns have pissed her off.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:34 | 3434963 Demonoid
Demonoid's picture

Nor eventually would there be any deer if no one went out hunting them, as any population biologist can tell you. Deer no longer have natural predators in any numbers.

Google "Calhoun over-population experiments rats" for insight.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:57 | 3435217 Boondocker
Boondocker's picture

Thats not completely true...there are a lot of mountain lions in california and the western states.   I see cat tracks regularly on the west slope in colorado and in california.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 01:31 | 3435354 Prometheus418
Prometheus418's picture

Also, Timber Wolves in WI.  Enough so that there is a push for a Wolf hunting season.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:11 | 3435084 Miffed Microbio...
Miffed Microbiologist's picture

I don't think this would be a problem. Go to your average grocery store a look at the average person. Next see them climbing into their high hide. Now imagine them hunting with a 50lb draw weight bow. And,if you can actually imagine all that, see them tracking their shot animal for hours or days because they failed to hit it correctly. All the bow hunters I know a quite fit for a good reason.


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:00 | 3434841 Scro
Scro's picture

Ha ha, my property is over run with deer and antelope. Antelope taste like crap and I don't like venison.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:04 | 3434856 Dr. Engali
Dr. Engali's picture

I never had antelope before..I have hade cantaloupe though :) . That was pretty tasty. When it comes to venison seasoning helps. I was surprised at how well it was accepted in the house by the kids when I started hunting. They love it. Whenever I make spaghetti they get ticked if I don't use deer meat.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:32 | 3435550 GCT
GCT's picture

No antelope here doc but I do have some Elk in the freezer.  A fellow hunting friend gave me some and it is some wild tasting stuff.  You definitely need to soak it and season it. 

I love to fish as well and it is croppie season.  Why buy fish when you can go out and catch it!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:24 | 3434924 Ineverslice
Ineverslice's picture


Nice Doc.  

I miss the Mooseloaf up in AK.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:51 | 3434813 Billy Shears
Billy Shears's picture

I'll eat more lamb!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:06 | 3434858 WmMcK
WmMcK's picture

Just sear it; works for bison and salmon, too.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:51 | 3434818 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

CPI affects increases in "entitlements" (the money we've all paid in without a choice in lieu of pensions or long-term health insurance that used to be widely available privately), so it's just another way to screw the little guy. 

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:52 | 3434820 Oldballplayer
Oldballplayer's picture

Chain CPI, Bitchez.

Every time something gets more expensive you will trade down to a different alternative. For example, you start with a nice succulent tenderloin. A year later you are digging up fucking night crawlers.

Protein is protein. No inflation.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:53 | 3434825 Scro
Scro's picture

Too many people confuse being vegan and vegatarian, look it up.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:55 | 3434826 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Two liter bottle of pepsi went from a buck thirty to a buck forty over night bitchez.

I'm tellin ya, they can't shrink the packaging anymore to preserve profit, the contents are going up...well done dickweeds, just what the common working class needs...another kick in the teeth.

(And no...I'm not saying where I get two liters of pepsi for 1.40)

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:56 | 3434834 respect the cock
respect the cock's picture

Rat-piss...never liked Pepsi.

Now, Mountain Dew Throwback...that's some good shit!

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:58 | 3434835 bnbdnb
bnbdnb's picture


Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:42 | 3434992 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

No coke.  Pepsi.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:11 | 3434886 Ineverslice
Ineverslice's picture


Honolulu- 2.49 reg price.........on sale - 1.25-1.50  (not Safeway, local store)

no name brand went from .99 to 1.18 about  2months ago.....

edit: Doritos - 5.39 (reg big bag) ,  people are only purchasing what's on sale from what i see

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:16 | 3434896 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

So are you saying Nick COLAs drinks coke or pepsi?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 23:27 | 3435129 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

how you doing nmewn

you're right. I think they're at reductions end for some things and the real price is starting to show and grow

you're in Florida? You can grow all year

not sure how to grow pepsi though

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 06:14 | 3435534 nmewn
nmewn's picture

I'm doing as well as can be expected Davey, understaffed at work with complete idiots calling the shots, bout like everyone else these days I guess.

I don't do a winter garden like I used to, although we could. I just put in the tomato's and a banana pepper...the pepsi plants were sold out so I'll have to mail order a few ;-)

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 10:59 | 3436335 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

yeah...I'm never satisfied either

that's why I think of myself as an incomplete idiot

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 00:22 | 3435254 BooMushroom
BooMushroom's picture

Not impressed. If you're gonna buy Pepsi two liters, go to the 99¢ only store.

And don't tell me you haven't seen the new 1.5L bottles yet, either.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 21:57 | 3434831 ziggy59
ziggy59's picture

Banksters eat Sheeple daily

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:01 | 3434845 world_debt_slave
world_debt_slave's picture

yep, I work as a part time cashier in a grocery store and see the cost of food skyrocketing, also the deceptive packaging to keep the prices from going up.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:09 | 3434875 StarTedStackin'
StarTedStackin''s picture

+2378 thousandths

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:10 | 3434879 Oldballplayer
Oldballplayer's picture

They keep making the ice cream containers smaller and that fat cow next door might cure her diabetes, but I doubt it.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:15 | 3434887 StarTedStackin'
StarTedStackin''s picture

Wish I could give you +1000

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:08 | 3434867 StarTedStackin'
StarTedStackin''s picture

so 12 oz bacon is now the norm?

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:09 | 3434877 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

    Won't be long and we'll be eating the packaging our food comes in, if CBs keep printing at the rate they are.

Thu, 04/11/2013 - 05:22 | 3435508 hidingfromhelis
hidingfromhelis's picture

Often, the packaging is probably a healthier choice than the "food" that comes in it.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:11 | 3434880 FIAT
FIAT's picture

You can't eat bitcoin

Or hold it

Or spend it

corn as measured by bitcoin was up 50% today

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:11 | 3434882 pragmatic hobo
pragmatic hobo's picture

where I live a bag of 12oz dorito now has price tag of $5. It was only a few years ago a bag of dorito was 16oz and cost $1.99. It also wasn't all that long ago a pound of coffee cost around $5~$7. Now a bag of coffee is around 10oz and costs $8~$10. Of course all these price inflation is offset by plummeting price of solid state drive and most important of all, ... fucking ipads.

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:13 | 3434888 way-out-west
way-out-west's picture

So.... I guess the proof is in the pudding - I make a habbit of keeping some of the eseentials around. There was a 6 month time span between me buying the can on the left, and the can on the right - both were exactly the same price... Which is the better option? you decide.

Grocery 'Shrinkage' Left = 26oz Right=24oz - Same price for the 24 as the 26 was 6 months ago.

<image here>

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:14 | 3434894 way-out-west
way-out-west's picture

Thing of it is... I likely wouldn't have even noticed myself if I hadn't had a stack in the pantry and thought - man what the fuck? as I tried to stack them together....

Wed, 04/10/2013 - 22:23 | 3434925 q99x2
q99x2's picture

Watermellon expensive - 8 bucks in SoCal.

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