Soaring Food Inflation Full Frontal: Beef, Pork And Shrimp Prices Soar To Record Highs

Tyler Durden's picture

We previously noted that both beef and pork (courtesy of the affectionately named Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus) prices have been reaching new all time highs on an almost daily basis. It is time to update the chart. Below we show what a world in which the Fed is constantly lamenting the lack of inflation looks like for beef prices...


... pork


... and shrimp.

More from Bloomberg:

Prices for shrimp have jumped to a 14-year high in recent months, spurred by a disease that’s ravaging the crustacean’s population. At Noodles & Co., a chain with locations across the country, it costs 29 percent more to add the shellfish to pastas this year, and shrimp-heavy dishes at places like the Cheesecake Factory Inc. are going up as well.


Restaurant chains, already struggling with shaky U.S. consumer confidence, are taking a profit hit as prices climb. Even worse, the surge is happening during the season of Lent, when eateries rely on seafood to lure Christian diners who abstain from chicken, beef and pork on certain days.


“It’s coming at a tough time for the industry,” said Andrew Barish, a San Francisco-based analyst at Jefferies LLC. “With the Lenten season, what you’ll see out there is a lot of promotions with seafood, and usually shrimp is a big part of that.”


In March, shrimp prices jumped 61 percent from a year earlier, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The climb is mainly due to a bacterial disease known as early mortality syndrome. While the ailment has no effect on humans, it’s wreaking havoc on young shrimp farmed in Southeast Asia, shrinking supplies.




James Johnson, a Jewel-Osco supermarket shopper in Chicago, has noticed the price increase. He’s been cutting back on one of his favorite dishes -- shrimp and potato soup -- because of the cost.


“I haven’t made it in a while,” the 29-year-old said. “Shrimp looks expensive.”



At Noodles, it now costs $3.34 to add the shellfish to a meal of pasta or pad thai, compared with $2.59 last year.


“We still want to at least offer it as choice,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Reddy said in a phone interview. “As soon as the costs begin to normalize, we’ll return to the regular price.”

Ah yes, because retailers are always so willing to lower costs...

So for all those whose sustenance includes iPads and LCD TVs, or heaven forbid the pink slime known as fast food - you are in luck: the BLS' hedonic adjustments mean the rate of price increase in your daily consumption has rarely been lower. For everyone else: our condolences.


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Update: Eggs too.

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Seer's picture

Sometimes it's all about perspective...

Anyone question the powers of Madison Avenue and Wall Street?

I blame the system.

duo's picture

Feedlot beef and aquafarmed fish/seafood are equally bad for you, unless you survive on antibiotics.

ZerOhead's picture

But isn't human sewage a great thing to grow the algae that feeds the shrimp? I mean like what could make you greener right?

Soul Glow's picture

Nuclear waste.  Go green!

Seer's picture

Sometimes knowing biology is beneficial...

There really isn't anything wrong with this approach, in general.  It's happening anyway, nature is and has been doing it since the beginning of time.

Yes, there's a lot of "crap" in our "shit."  Eventually we'll clean up, in which case our "shit" will be good "shit."  Jenkins makes this point in his book on Humanure:

The term "night soils" is, I believe, from China.  Had to do with disposing of human waste directly on the adjacent fields: soils HAVE to be built back up.  I suspect that stir-fry came to be the means by which they averted food illness: most pathogens are killed in fairly short order at temps of 160 degrees F; even quicker at higher temps.

More folks need to take a tour of waste-water treatment plants to understand how energy and resource intensive it is.  And note that many plants turn around and sell the processed "shit" back to you as compost!  Yes, send shit out and get it back!  That nice bag of compost that you've just picked up from the store so that you can plant your nice "healthy" vegetables might be from...

Serenity Now's picture

I just finished a book about North Korea that had the phrase "night soils" in it.  I had never heard of that phrase before.  Most of us (including myself) have no idea what famine is.

SirTaxedAlot's picture

You can always substitute Spam or Steak'ems.

Seer's picture

Duck jerky?  Can you give me a pointer to info? (I suppose that I could go research for myself, but sometimes it's nice to have someone steer you in the right direction.)

intric8's picture

I eat beef ALL the time. Beef flavored instant noodles, that is

Seer's picture

I'll NEVER forget seeing a food case dish display of Spam when in Manila.  I found this so "fascinating" that I took a picture of it (just to verify what my eyes had seen)!

Serenity Now's picture

It's a staple in Hawaii.  Even McDonald's sells it.  

besnook's picture

easy to explain. there is the seafood radiation tax and the beef tortoise tax. someone has to pay.

oklaboy's picture

inflation? what inflation? price should be dropping after all of those missing cows in NV hit the market.

goBackToSleep's picture

Looks like it's tubesteak for my bitchez!

John Law Lives's picture

I have a friend who recently went to a local restaurant and ordered a cup of crab bisque.  When the crab bisque was served, he noted there there was no visible sign of crab meat.  He asked the server where the crab meat was, and he was told the crab bisque was made with the "essence" of crab... (100% true story)

I suppose what were are experiencing (according to the Fed) is the "essence" of inflation vs. real inflation.


oklaboy's picture

great idea...maybe we can pay our taxes with essence of cash?

John Law Lives's picture

He told me he considered leaving that server the "essence" of a tip, but he realized it wasn't the server's doing to be chintzy on crab meat.  He never went back to that restaurant (which is in the DFW area).

oklaboy's picture

I Galeston, shrimp was 5.99 a lb iniFebuary, and it today 5.99. boats coming in with full loads. But beef, that's climbing here.

NotApplicable's picture

Okay, that's got the Corexit side of the spread covered. Now, who's up in the PNW with the Cesium results?

Landrew's picture

I have something for you. I just measured some Alaskan king crab shells with my ultra low background germanium detector. The only thing I found to my surprise a K-40 peak and that was it. I ran the test and counted for three days.

John Law Lives's picture

Speaking of sticker shock, I have seen ~$3.59 per gallon for regular unleaded gasoline this week at several places in DFW.  That is sharply higher over the previous month.

I imagine beef prices are surging, but I rarely ever buy it.  North Texas and western Oklahoma are in a serious drought condition these days.  It is tough on cattle farmers.


TruthInSunshine's picture

"Essence of crab." Bernanke got a boner hearing that.

eel fart soup is all the rage in Tokyo, I hear. Go! Abe-nomics! Go! Kuroda-san!

venturen's picture

You are paying with essence of is call US Dollars

Seer's picture

Yeah, but do you really want to get that smell on your hands?

db51's picture

Essence of beef...coming to a grocery store near you.   lmao

Soul Glow's picture

Essence of beef - a new cologne from Janet Yellen.  Spray and pretend you aren't hungry.

Serenity Now's picture

Just for clarity, and I do hesitate to even bring this up, but bisque isn't supposed to have meat in it.  It's smooth and creamy, and it is in fact made from cooked-then-strained seafood that isn't quality enough to be sold on the market.  So it is kind of made from the essence of the seafood, not including the actual seafood.

I don't even know how I know this, as I prefer Cheetos to anything seafood.  But it's true, nevertheless.  I used to watch a lot of cooking shows on PBS.

wee-weed up's picture

Is that the Wall Street equivalent to a free-range chicken?

pcrs's picture

Quick seize all cattle

Shameful's picture

Is it me or is everything consumable suffering from some sort of disease or drought to explain price increases?  Glad to know it's not the base money supply increasing that causes prices to rise...

NotApplicable's picture

Sadly these things go hand in hand, as currency destruction undermines everything in search of the fabled ROI.

krispkritter's picture

Local ad for 'Top Soil' is now a 3/4cf bag instead of the 1cf last year that was .20 cheaper.  Even dirt's more expensive and I expect they'll be shipping it here from Japan soon.  'Look honey! Our tomatoes are absolutely glowing!'

TruthInSunshine's picture

The Fukushima Hothouse Tomato is all the rage now.

alangreedspank's picture

Yes, it of course has nothing to do with that. In the world of economic academia, the Fed has nothing to do with record low rates on the 10Y bond because they only control short term rates, the 10Y yield is a consequence of a slow economy. The Fed has nothing to do with the stock market rally of 2009-now also, because this is simply a consequence of a strong recovering economy. And beef price ramps have nothing to do with Fed short term rate policy even though the last two major ones correlate pretty damn good with record low fed fund rates. (2001, started to go on a downward trend in 2005 when rates where starting to be ramped up and 2009, when well, we know what the Fed did there).


Soul Glow's picture

My friend told me the other day his food costs are not increasing, then he went on to say he only buys the cheapest items.  So it was my facts against his diarrhea.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Sounds like your facts are now moist, brown, and stinky.

Conax's picture


I love beef so much I bought me a whole steer.  He's like a puppy, and follows me around the yard.  When prices went up I decided to eat him.  (Saved a fortune that week)  Not having the heart, I just had the vet get one leg off for me.  He still gets around pretty well.
His old name was Arnold, but now I just call him Tripod.

Another economic tearjerker, everybody thank Janet!

RafterManFMJ's picture

That really isn't how you butcher a cow. I feel sorry for its pain.

NotApplicable's picture

You might want to check the batteries in your Truthiness detector.

RafterManFMJ's picture

Some cannot penetrate the screens of my Romulan Sarcasm Cloaking Device. Is high tech.

TruthInSunshine's picture

We had a tripod Hereford and called her Ilene.

RafterManFMJ's picture

We had one heifer my sister named 'Jolly.' They practically grew up together. We butchered her one Fall, and with every Jolly steak we ate, the tears rolled down her face.

Never forget her eyes brimming with tears, while her mouth brimmed with Jolly and A1.

Good times!

Seer's picture

When I was a kid I recall my dad naming one of our cattle "Chucky."  I don't name my food: I'm worried about the karma/reincarnation thing...

robertocarlos's picture

The heart is the best part, ask any big cat.