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.


* * *

Update: Eggs too.

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max2205's picture

Jamie got a beef with this

I Write Code's picture

The chickens have already won.

infinity8's picture

BBQ'd free-range chicken legs and thighs tonight. The last time ('07? '08?) there were a lot of food inflation headlines, I didn't really see it in my area except for coffee and dairy. This time is different and I'm seening it almost across the board. I'm in a town that isn't attached to any other town. Not a suburb of anywhere, completely surrounded by ranches and farms. So I gotta assume I have it better than some other places.

MaxMax's picture

Last few months, I noticed that the grocery store roasted chickens got much smaller - probably about 3 lbs from the previous 4-5 lbs.  All of the stores around here now have these little tiny chickens - and of course the price is the same.  What's next?  Selling fertlized eggs?

AgentScruffy's picture

After 2008 I noticed the 1/3 pound burger at the local Fuddrucker's was noticeably smaller. Several months later, smaller yet. Few months after that, smaller again. Wondered "How small can a 1/3 pound burger get?"

Seer's picture

But, is it quality?  I mean, a 1/16 lb quality burger has to be better than a 1/3 lb shitty one, yes?

Latest lead prices are $0.94/lb USD.  Pretty cheap to bump that weight up...  Always be careful about cries for more lead! </sarc>

Bankstein Swissgoldberg's picture

it would be pretty charitable to rig dowm these markets. Bill Gates, where are you? I believe you have the power and technology for that. Just tip politicians ... huh, already did that?

BiteMeBO's picture

Eat Gold!  No inflation.  

hotrod's picture

HOw about TAX Inflation, which M/Armstrong says really is deflationary BUT here in the state of Georgia we have a new Auto yearly Ad-valorem.  We used to pay yearly on an assessed car value. NOW, if you live here or move to the state you pay 5 years up front on the state assessed value of your car.

So when you pay it, if for some reason you sell it in one year or total it, your 5 years of TAX went to the State.  If I sell my car to a private buyer he pays the 5 years upfront even though I just paid it.  So if you move to Georgia with 3 cars know that you will pay 15 years (aggregate) upfront.  My mother just moved here and has a 2009 honda which she planned to sell but had to pay the 5 years up front.  She is 83 and furious as the tag office guy just smirked as she forked over $1100 for five years. She told the guy that she might only live one more year.

cherry picker's picture

It isn't tax inflation, I call it robbery.

Does Georgia give you a list of all the services and such you get with your tax dollar?

I wish the citizens would get enough guts and stop paying tax for a bit, maybe it will force a correction like the rigged markets and so on.  I would like to see golden parachutes, expensive consultants, war toys and more just vanish.  Then the NSA and CIA and others with unprintable budgets need to be dissolved as these organizations cause a lot more trouble than they prevent.

I feel bad for your mom, at 83 forking over $1,100 just because she has a set of wheels.

Seer's picture

If you think that's bad then try buying and operating a vehicle down in the Philippines.

My wife's mother at the age of 83 was taking buses and jeepneys (and such): I"m not aware that she ever drove, let alone "owned" a car.

SmittyinLA's picture

Move along, nothing to see here, the sale of 25% of all US hog & Hog feed production sold to 1 Chinese company isn't the cause of your food inflation, its all in your head. 

El Hosel's picture

As long as the "Regular" people don't ask for ( and get ) wage increases to pay for higher priced food its not inflationary.... Move along.

Seer's picture

The industries held back raising prices as long as they could.  Many companies weren't able to see the return on the "up cycle" and were sold.

We demanded cheap food, so now we get it.  Iit was NEVER cheap, it's just that we refused to pay more for it so this is how it has ended up.  And as is typical (from reading here) people blame everything else but themselves...  But look on the bright side, now we get a first hand look at what US companies have been doing abroad for countless number of decades!  And, as I warned a crowd when I was speaking out against enthanol production, this will ONLY lead to selling out one's lands (and land is the MOST precious thing).

If there's a "solution"/"strategy" it would be to support local farmers/ranchers who are based on more natural means of production: don't have to, pardon the pun, go "whole hog," just shift a bit here and there, as that will remove sales growth from the biggies.  No corporation (Chinese or otherwise) can manage at these levels.  I'm banking on the prices from corporate foods to rise up closer to that of local; and at some pint the big corporate structure's economies of scale will collapse.  It'll be painful, but that's how it will play out (I see and go with the flow).

evernewecon's picture



All the more reason to 

start replacing GMO's

looking inadequately tested

with staple products that

can't be overrun, especially

if there's any chance 

someone's going to be afraid

to eat the fish.




No intimations as to 

cause and effect--just 

linking informationally.









I'm clueless as to underlying facts:





Amer. Academy of Env. Med.




The influence of the gut 

population on the rest of the

body, including pathic, and of 

leaky gut, is an area

just recently exploded in 

interest and work.




rsnoble's picture

We could easily crash shrimp prices with a geiger counter and youtube video.

rsnoble's picture

And of course since everyone will look for cheaper items those will go up as well.  Anything 'cheap' is an area of concentration to fuck us on.

trader1's picture

watch out for the price of seafood to trend exponentially over the next 100 years.

there may not even be any more edible seafood other than the genetically modified kind, if ever approved by the fda.

mmmm, tasty ;-)  


Seer's picture

Good, and bad...

The Good is that in the future we won't have this problem to worry about.

The Bad is that we won't likely be around in another 100 years (I'm thinking that entropy is going to be chomping on a LOT of infrastructure, especially the military kind- maybe give the aliens a good light show).

trader1's picture

we'll be around.  

where we'll live and how our dna will evolve are up for further debate.

Rising Sun's picture

Cattle and hogs are well off their March highs.


As these tanks, so too will prices on store shelves - 3 months-ish to take effect typically.

Seer's picture

"As these tanks, so too will prices on store shelves - 3 months-ish to take effect typically."

Of course, employment numbers will decline, in which case "affordability" will still be an issue.

Drive prices down far enough and margins get crushed, leaving only entities with change in the pockets to pick up the failing companies: think Smithfield & China.  So, if you're in to that kind of thing...

Duc888's picture



El Hosel: "As long as the "Regular" people don't ask for ( and get ) wage increases to pay for higher priced food its not inflationary.... Move along."


Yup, this asshat thinks minimum wage needs to be raised to $15 an hour.


Fuck it, why stop there?  I'm self employed, Oblabla needs to pull another EO out of his ass and make it a law that I have to pay myself $250 an hour...






robertocarlos's picture

The best cuts of beef and pork are exported to China and Japan. Air freight. 747.

Seer's picture

Yeah, cause my little po-dunk meat shop has an airport out back and I see them carting that shit out on regular flights to China!

Duc888's picture



"People still eat shrimp after what was done to the Gulf of Mexico by BP? I am talking about the chemical, Corexit, they used to"People obscure the oil evidence."

Hey, it's a preservative.   You can leave 'em out on the counter for a few weeks, the flies won't even touch 'em.



Ban KKiller's picture

This Thursday we pick up some new chicks. One or two will be roosters. We eat them. The others lay eggs and eat scraps we get for free. The chickens also provide fertilizer which we put in our compost. We get our pig from the local guy and we see how the pig was raised and what it was fed. Beef we get from another local guy. Grass fed. We buy in bulk so it works out to be fairly priced, we think. Have freezer of course. 

Be subversive...grow something. 


So fuck you big stores/chain stores! Next is aquaponics!

Seer's picture

And there you go!

"Grass fed. We buy in bulk so it works out to be fairly priced, we think."

I think it best to know who is producing your food (at a minimum WHERE) and how your food is being produced.  It really is just like what the big purchasers have to do- they need to know these things in order to ensure their target quality and pricing.  On the small scale there's a LOT of people that don't do real good at keeping track of costs, and while this might provide you with a bargin today it comes at the cost of them not being around tomorrow: and keep in mind that start-up inefficiencies WILL catch up; this is why the Big Boys manage to keep going- they're not constantly reinventing the wheel.  Just as there are shitty big companies there's also shitty small-producers, watch out.

NOTE: be sure you're set up for management of that flock; it's not as easy as most think, and with animals you're tied down  (which is why I advocate getting a nice place because you'll be speding a LOT of time there).  I swear, my animals have a much better life than I do!

Civilization's picture

An honest measure of inflation would include subsidies.

Seer's picture

We're subsidizing TODAY costs by externalizing on/to TOMORROW'S costs.  So I guess you could say that that's a subsidy...

elwind45's picture

How is the middleman going to survive

Libertarian777's picture

Dunno what you all smoking

If you substitute beef for shrimp

pork for beef

chicken for pork

and tree bark for chicken

and grass for tree bark

then you have DEFLATION!

need to print more yellen-bucks!!

</sarc off>

Emergency Ward's picture

"Tried him for murder, first degree
Judge's wife cried, let the man go free...
I am a back door man...
Well the men don't know but little girls understand...

When you come home you can eat, pork and beans
I eats mo' chicken, any man seen
I am a back door man
I am a back door man"

-- Howlin' Wolf, "Back Door Man"

donmindme's picture

These food prices fluctuate too much. It'll seriously messes up the official inflation index.

It's time to remove beef, pork, shrimp prices from the inflation index calculations. 


mt paul's picture

happy elephant 

marijuana bran muffins


after a couple of those

it's all good 

messymerry's picture

Sadly, those are not available down here in Texas.  Of course, we do like our tea...


Peter Pan's picture

Well we all know it takes at least 5 times more land to generate the same calories from meat as you would from plant matter.

Maybe it is a blessing in disguise for our health and our planet.

Then again we might revert to cannibalism like those two brothers in Pakistan who have been digging up corpses to eat them.

I am going to miss my T-Bone steaks and lamb chops.

I will probably overdose on chocolate.

Seer's picture

"Well we all know it takes at least 5 times more land to generate the same calories from meat as you would from plant matter."

And where does this come from?

Does this hold in the polar regions?

Some places plant matter just plain doesn't do too well.  That is, plant matter that humans aren't likely able to readily digest.  I suspect that this is why we're ominvores.

Broad brushes can be dangerous...

ForTheWorld's picture

One might suggest it's best to eat what is native, or grows best, for a given location. However, that would lead to a lot of unhappy campers.

22winmag's picture

It's only a matter of time until food is worth it's weight in... silver.

BeetleBailey's picture

Grow your own...roll your own...load your own...stack your your own.


Seer's picture

And if everyone is busy rolling their own, loading their own and securing their own then who is going to extract and mint the stackable stuff?

BeetleBailey's picture

"if everyone"....which will NEVER happen

yogibear's picture

People need to put the blame on the Federal Reserve where it should exist. 

Rather than letting prices deflate and adjust the fed has decided they'll burn the little people.

Seer's picture

Yeah, if I were extremely powerful and wealthy I'd look to upset the status quo by messing with all the "little people!"

Maybe, just maybe, the question should be asked: what if there are forces at play that are beyond the total control of the omnipotent Fed?


Remove the Fed.  Remove ALL govt.  Where does the debt go?  And, how are necessary resources going to be obtained when there's no longer the ability to support the "economies of scale" world that we've come to depend on?  As an example, snail mail is only remotely possible because of JUNK mail- the junk mail dries up (well, because it's junk, no one really wants it) and all of a sudden that snail mail has to take on a much higher price-tag: of course, I highly doubt any of This is going to hold up for any meaningful period of time following the collapse.

royal's picture prices exploding, and yet gold.....drops?

...even more proof the gold price is being manipulated downwards.

Seer's picture

More people are busy eating food than gold?

Incubus's picture

happy I have farmland.


collapse is coming.



Yes_Questions's picture



and if that's a pic of your farm-maiden's ass, you'd better not see that on the way out to tend to your livestock.

GoinFawr's picture

Perhaps he runs a chicken ranch