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My favorite jelly has shrank the jar by 1 ounce and raised the price $0.79. My favorite cereal doesn't come in a family size any more and the standard size has shrank 2 ounces while the price remained the same. Meat keeps creeping up in price, eggs, milk, bread.

I keep on reading in the news there is no inflation, I'm wondering if the inflation I'm seeing is regional/local. Is anyone else seeing inflation?

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  1. Honestly I think this trend started at least 10-15 years ago when a 1lbs. can of coffee became 14 or 12oz. without the price every changing.

    Receiving less for the same price is suppose to be considered stability of pricing. Welcome to the new world order.

    4 Replies
    1. re: jrvedivici

      Trend goes back way farther than 10-15 years. The paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote and essay entitled "Phyletic Size Decrease in Hershey Bars" http://math.uprag.edu/PhyleticSizeDec... Included is a graph tracking this practice back to at least 1965.

      1. re: kmcarr

        That's a really interesting essay, thanks for linking it.

      2. re: jrvedivici

        <Receiving less for the same price is suppose to be considered stability of pricing.>

        That is just because of marketing. It is easier on the consumers to pay for a smaller box than to pay a higher price. The prime example is that airlines are charging you for luggage and food now. From a marketing point of view, it is easier to reduce service than to increase price, especially because of internet price search.

        You said it. New world. -- not sure about the order part. :)

        1. re: jrvedivici

          I know what you're saying and accept that inflation is a fact of life, but at the same time, the way inflation is calculated by the BLS has changed and these changes are not being factored when media reports that inflation is low/negligible. That's my main gripe.

          I'm not just talking about how "volatile" components like food and fuel have been stripped out of the "core" inflation. I'm talking about substitution e.g. chicken was $3/lb and beef was $5/lb now beef is $7/lb and chicken is $5/lb, no inflation per BLS.

        2. Of course we are... :( They've been doing it for my entire life - products gradually shrink and prices rise until it gets to the point where they introduce a 'new value size' and the cycle continues ad infinitum. And so it will be until the end of time...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Kajikit

            I just want my family size back. Buying many boxes of cereal with small amounts of cereal in them is a waste of packaging.

          2. <I keep on reading in the news there is no inflation>

            Inflation is low, not that there is no inflation.


            6 Replies
            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

              What does inflation have to do with capitalistic greed?

              Seriouslly, even if it isn't greed, fuel prices go up, labor prices go up, anybody with a big ag concern probably has to invest in more technology to keep up. The list goes on, and people at the end of the chain have to pay more or do without.

              And then there's greed.

              1. re: EWSflash

                You are correct. Inflation actually has nothing to do with capitalism. It has existed prior to capitalistic societies. There are many factors for inflation, but the most basic drive for inflation is simply that "today's money" worth more than "tomorrow's money".

                Let's say I buy a car from you, and then I say to you: "I can pay you the $30,000 right now, or I can pay you the $30,000 ten years from now. What do you want?"

                Almost everyone will prefer the $30,000 today. This attitude is the reason why inflation exists. The value of money decreases as a function of time.

                As Veggo has pointed out at the bottom, a deflation or a non-inflation economy is actually very harmful.


                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                  "But I'll gladly pay you on Tuesday for a hamburger today."
                  -Wimpy, 1954.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    I will gladly pay you New Years for a hamburger on Christmas.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      For you darlin', cheeseburger, all the trimmings, no IOU!
                      Merry Christmas!

                      1. re: Veggo

                        Done! I'll bring the French fries and milk shakes! Have yourself a wondrous Christmas dinner, and drink merrily! Glad yul :-)

            2. I'm sure noticing it too. Beef prices are awful, the bag of egg noodles I bought were only 12 oz instead of a pound, and that's just the start of it.
              The govt lies, about everything!!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Nanzi

                This is the worst I've seen inflation manipulation, it pumps the GDP numbers and lowers social security payouts.

              2. I'm probably going to regret wading in but here goes.

                Headline inflation is low. Food is only a component of overall inflation figures. Cost of food is actually very volatile. That's why there is a separate measure of CPI ex food and energy which always leads to the overused line about who lives without food and energy. Any who.

                This will bore the tears out of most of you, but here goes.

                Last year if you recall, there was a very poor growing season in the US and the major commodity crops had low yields. The price of wheat/corn/soy soared. That resulted in price increases down the food chain. One of the effects was that the price of feed for cattle skyrocketed. Ranchers could not afford to feed their herds so there was significant culling of the herds in 2012. That resulted in a collapse of prices in the meat markets as the slaughterhouses were very busy. Price of beef/pork hit very low levels but we have probably all forgotten about the great prices on meat from last summer's cookouts.

                Other products that used grains would have started a slow trend upwards as many users hedge their cost structure through the use of futures contracts. The futures market becomes illiquid much past a year. So the rise in spot prices eventually catches up to the users and they have to deal with the price increase.

                Its fairly typical response to first shrink the size of the package when costs go up as most consumers are nominal price sensitive and don't initially notice the smaller quantity. Eventually the price goes up enough for the underlying commodity that the price also goes up.

                Turn now to harvest of 2013. Its actually been a record year. Harvest of wheat/corn/soy are at levels such that the grain elevators are basically bursting. Spot and futures prices are down significantly since last year.

                What does that mean? Well things like cereal, bread and pasta will probably see a reversal and package sizes will slowly increase as prices hold steady.

                Meat prices on the other hand will continue to go up. Herds were culled last year but feed prices have dropped this year. So that means while herd sizes are being brought up this year, the number of cattle that are of age/size to come to market is down so beef/pork prices will be firm to stronger. Prices there won't be affected by this year's lower feed prices until next year. Exception to that will be chicken as new chicks can be raised and brought to market much quicker.

                This is a gross over-simplification of a complex concept.

                Today's lesson is over. Class dismissed.

                11 Replies
                1. re: Bkeats

                  "What does that mean? Well things like cereal, bread and pasta will probably see a reversal and package sizes will slowly increase as prices hold steady."

                  I'm not sure if we'll see a reversal in package sizes until customers revolt. In the case of airlines, they said they needed to charge fees for previously included services (like checked bags, food, etc.) because the industry was undergoing a rough patch and was unprofitable. Now that airlines are doing very well, very profitable, I don't see them generously sharing the largesse either with customers or employees.

                  1. re: Bkeats

                    That wasn't boring at all, and I feel a bit smarter after reading it, so thanks.

                    I made a pot roast last week and was shocked by even the sale price on the beef. Inflation kinda sucks. I've been looking online the last week at new vehicles. Wowza. Talk about inflated prices from even five years ago. It's hard to wrap my head around spending 40-ish for a vehicle.

                    1. re: KrumTx

                      We just spent less for a new vehicle than we did for our last new vehicle 20 years ago. It's smaller, but better in many respects. There are many good cars below $40K.

                      1. re: GH1618

                        Yeah, I know. I just had my eye on a Jeep Cherokee. I need to have my eye on a Prius:)

                    2. re: Bkeats


                      Well said. I couldn't say it better. Thanks.

                      1. re: Bkeats

                        Thank you for taking the time to break this down for us Luddites, but you have made me chuckle...

                        "What does that mean? Well things like cereal, bread and pasta will probably see a reversal and package sizes will slowly increase as prices hold steady."

                        Dream on, Babe! This is a "bottom line" world and General Mills, et alii, ain't never never never gonna walk into their corporate board rooms to tell their investors they're putting more Cheerios in the box for free! But wouldn't it be nice if altruism was once again alive and well and living in a corporate board room!* '-)

                        GREAT POST!

                        *with apologies to Bill and Melinda Gates and others.

                        1. re: Caroline1

                          As a matter of fact, General Mills recently introduced a double box pack of Cheerios (each box 20.35 oz), with significantly lower cost per unit weight. They are taking care of their serious Cheerios consumers.

                          1. re: Caroline1

                            "This is a "bottom line" world and General Mills, et alii, ain't never never never gonna walk into their corporate board rooms to tell their investors they're putting more Cheerios in the box for free! But wouldn't it be nice if altruism was once again alive and well and living in a corporate board room!* '-)"

                            It's true that prices, even food prices, are what they call "sticky down," which is to say that prices match cost increases more closely than they match cost decreases. But still from time to time prices come down. It's not altruism by any means. Prices come down as companies battle for sales in a mostly competitive market. The company doesn't tell their board they're giving stuff away, they tell their board that they're taking share away from the other guys and gaining substitutions from other products.

                            1. re: nokitchen

                              This commodity game happens weekly in the petroleum markets. And your gas tank.

                              1. re: Veggo

                                ... and your stock portfolio, and your toothpaste, and you well, and your ad infinitems! '-)

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  Today I like the Norwegian krone. Tomorrow is another day.

                        2. Keeping with the cooking (instead of politics) theme of this board, yes I see it and yes it IS annoying.

                          Especially when is following a recipe (either printed or in one's head) that calls for say a can of plum tomatoes or a bag of dried lentils.

                          Yes, I know one ~should~ cook by weight, but sometimes on weeknights...

                          I'd rather see pre-packaged products stay the same size, and just see the price increase! What's wrong with transparency? Or are the food purveyors afraid of us (the consumers)?

                          8 Replies
                          1. re: pedalfaster

                            There is no lack of transparency. Net weights are marked on the package, and unit pricing is common, making comparison of different package sizes easy.

                            1. re: GH1618

                              good points...but when running through the mega-mart at 5:30 p.m. I'm not taking the time to look that closely!

                              1. re: pedalfaster

                                I agree pedalfaster, when you're in a rush, it's easy not to notice when a package or jar has shrunk. I almost grabbed the jelly last week but it didn't look quite right, that's when I noticed they shaved an ounce off. I wound up putting it back because I couldn't justify the price increase. If I had been in a rush, I would have never noticed.

                            2. re: pedalfaster

                              Food packages size has actually increased in size if you look at it from a broader and more historical angle. We cannot and should not talk about one package out of millions, and certainly not fixated in one jelly package.

                              Think about this. Don't you often see these extra larger candy bars?

                              If you look throughout the years, food products have largely increased over time -- not decreased.

                              For example, Kellogg's corn flake was 7.6 oz in 1930, then it became 8 oz in 1940, and then fluctuate between 12 oz to 24 oz in the next 50 years.

                              Here is the 1940 regular size package:


                              Nabisco's Oreo cookies has increased from 4.5 oz from 1948 to now ~15 oz.

                              Coca cola bottle size has ballooned over the years from 10 oz as the standard size to 2-3 L.

                              While we may see the package size increases and decreases momentarily. In light of history, food package size has almost always increased over time.

                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                World's #1 cynic here! Those packaging variations are a direct reflection of corporate sales strategies to sell more product, and THAT problem has been with us since Pharaohs paid minimum wages in beer!

                                1. re: Caroline1

                                  <Those packaging variations are a direct reflection of corporate sales strategies to sell more product>

                                  True, but you can only sell what people are willing to buy. What is it? "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink."

                                  Many American sack sizes are smaller in other countries. For example, the Oreo packages in Asia often come in smaller size than their American counterpart:


                                  By the way, this blogger is upset that the green Oreo is green tea flavor instead of mint. I don't know. I think I would love to try green tea flavor Oreo. I like green tea ice cream.


                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                    Hey, that's a swell idea! If you mix matcha into the filling, "Look, Ma! Tea and cookies, and I didn't even have to boil water!"

                                    See? Creative marketing in action! And no surprise to anyone, Americans are gluttons so we need bigger bags to fill our bigger bellies! '-)

                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                      If it's green and you're in Asia, chances are pretty good that it's either green tea or pandan flavoured.

                              2. Just wait until the crazies get their way and the minimum wage goes up to $15.00.

                                1. The Consumer Price Index for food at home rose only .6% for the 12 month period ending in November, but more for meat, poultry, fish, and eggs.


                                  Inflation can't be judged from individual experience because the items an individual shopper prefers may not be representative of the nation at large. My experience is that inflation for food is low enough that I am not worrying about it. It would be a great deal of effort to keep track of enough items to get a meaningful number, and there are many complications. For example, I was recently forced to change my brand of eggs. There is much variation between brands in egg prices, so if I pay more for eggs than I did a few months ago, part of that increase may be due to the change of brand rather than inflation.

                                  4 Replies
                                  1. re: GH1618

                                    While it's good that inflation is low enough you don't worry about it, there really are people who do need to worry about it, especially if they are on a fixed small income. If I look at the retail price of my jelly from last month vs. last week, it's a 10% price increase which was enough to make me not buy it. Not the greatest example since I don't need jelly, but I wish the jelly was still the same price, but I guess I'll be eating fewer calories so there's a silver lining to everything.

                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                      Inflation in your personal shopping which exceeds the overall rate of inflation can be controlled to some extent by changing brands or products. When particular items get too expensive, I stop buying them. I'm on a fixed income myself.

                                      1. re: GH1618

                                        You can only change brands so far before you hit bottom... we've gone from 'real' ham to the sliced-to-order ham in the deli to prepackaged ham to prepackaged ham only if it was on sale to no ham at all because DH didn't think it was worth the money. I guess that's controlling our personal inflation, but it means a lot more peanut butter and storebrand jelly.

                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                          You also have your health to think about since often a lower quality food has less nutritional value, more additives, etc...

                                  2. I would always prefer to pay more money for the size I'm used to.
                                    It goes for restaurants too.
                                    I think one of the many reasons for restaurants failing is the pure fact that they reduce size and increase price.
                                    Increase price but do NOT reduce size.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: latindancer

                                      I agree, keep portions the same. It's a bad surprise when you're at a restaurant you frequent and you don't receive as much food as you're expecting. If they increase prices at least you don't feel like they're trying to slip one past you and you can budget for it.

                                        1. re: latindancer

                                          In the interest of quantity easing, you can shorten your reply by 14% with 'zackly'.

                                      1. re: JayL

                                        So that's what Quantitative Easing means!

                                        1. re: GH1618

                                          I wish they weren't easing the size of my jelly. I'm going to need a bailout if my grocery bills go any higher. How heavy do I have to be to be too big to fail?

                                          1. re: GH1618

                                            No, it's actually Quantity Easing.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit

                                                One of my favorite quotes from the news:

                                                "Excluding sectors of the economy where prices rose, inflation has been negligible."

                                          2. Here's a thorough discussion of food price inflation in the US from the Congressional Research Service:

                                            Consumers and Food Price Inflation


                                            1. Most food products are energy intensive from start to finish including transportation/distribution. Energy is an inflation animal.

                                              Years ago the Government realized this and removed both food and energy from the inflation equation.

                                              So, you see, this way, the entrenched politicians in Washington can report low inflation while the 2 products that inflation effects the most (food & energy) go through the roof. Ha Ha Ha!

                                              It was either Tricky Dickie or Can't Remember Ronnie who
                                              who dreamed this smoke and mirrors policy up. Kind of like estimating the cost of a Prime Rib dinner and not adding in the cost of the Prime Rib!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                                              6 Replies
                                              1. re: Tom34

                                                No, they report several categories of CPI separately. Those who want the complete picture can find everything easily. This does not seem deceptive to me. Multiple categories gives a better picture than reducing inflation to one number.

                                                1. re: GH1618

                                                  Yes I know, the volatility argument is sound but when a short term trend becomes long term as has been the case with crude oil based energy prices which have a dramatic long term influence on food costs they should be added to the Core Inflation equation. At the very least, honest reporting would include a statement along the lines of, "When energy & food costs are factored in, the REAL inflation rate is".

                                                2. re: Tom34

                                                  The CPI was actually adjusted during the Carter administration to hide what a spectacular failure he was at managing things.

                                                  1. re: justalex

                                                    That's also when the prime rate reached 16.5%. Somewhat to his defense, he inherited a mess nobody could have dealt with.

                                                    1. re: justalex

                                                      Carter appointed Volcker who did in fact end stagflation by raising interest rates so high it begat the deep recession of the early 1980s. But a lot of what are happens economically speaking happens down the road so Nixon's doings often blamed on Ford and Carter and Reagan gets credit for what Carter did.

                                                      Foodwise Carter did get one thing really, really right. He loosened prohibition era rules that thwarted home beer brewing. That lead to the home brewer movement which in turn lead to the microbrewery movement. So I raise my glass of Bell's Christmas Ale in praise.

                                                      1. re: HokieAnnie

                                                        The high cost of energy was a big inflation factor back then as well. To Carter's credit, he established a national energy policy. There were a lot of failures to come out of it, Ethanol being one, but for the first time in our countries history we took a comprehensive look at how we used/wasted energy. Much of the ground work was laid for the dramatic efficiency increases that have occurred over the years in virtually all energy consuming products and homes.

                                                        Speaking of beer......remember "Billy Beer" ?

                                                  2. Why is it that everyone assumes that their salary will increase steadily but is shocked when milk gets more expensive?

                                                    21 Replies
                                                    1. re: ferret

                                                      People on fixed incomes don't expect it to go up and I think you can replace "assumes" with "hopes" :) I don't think anyone is shocked that milk is more expensive, more like anxious or stressed or dismayed.

                                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                                        Except for commissioned sales people, everyone is on a "fixed income". That is such a meaningless phrase.

                                                        1. re: carolinadawg

                                                          It may not be precise, but it isn't entirely meaningless. As used here, it means that a person is retired and livong on Social Security or other pension without supplemental income. Although retired persons may receive a cost-of-living adjustment from time to time, they no longer have opportunities for advancement in their careers, or to increase their income by working overtime hours or a second job.

                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                            Actually, social security recipients are guaranteed an annual increase in their benefits, thus their income is not "fixed".

                                                            1. re: carolinadawg

                                                              The algorithm for calculating increases has been altered and is somewhat specious, IMO.

                                                              1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                Better check again. Social Security recipients are NOT guaranteed an annual increase. There were NO increases in 2009 nor 2010.

                                                                In other recent years, the so-called SS cost-of living raises actually failed to keep up with inflation, unlike typical government workers, whose so called cost-of-living adjustments typically exceed the inflation rate, but where typical private pensions rarely get adjustments.).

                                                                For all practical purposes, private pensions & SS are essentially fixed incomes, especially when compared with typical government pensions which are typically adjusted (generously) for inflation..

                                                                1. re: carolinadawg

                                                                  Yeah, but when the gov't tells you two years in a row there has been no inflation, therefore you will recieve no COLA, yet when you run numbers on the gov't's very own inflation calculator and it tells you they were lying about denying your COLA, who ya gonna trust??????????

                                                                    1. re: Caroline1

                                                                      The Social Security COLA is based on the third quarter CPI For Urban Wage Earners And Clerical Workers (CPI-W). In 2009 and 2010 this index was lower than it had been in 2008. That is why there was no COLA in 2010 and 2011. Nobody was lying, they were merely applying the formula which was legislated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics computes CPI-W (and all forms of CPI). BLS is independent and objective and does not manipulate these indices on behalf of SSA or anyone else.

                                                                      It may be that CPI-W does not jive with your perception of what food inflation, or inflation generally, is, but it is not required to. That's just the way it works, and if you think it should work differently then perhaps you should write to your Congressman.

                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                        Lighten up, Sugarplum! Sometimes my sardonic humor is simply a coping mechanism. '-)

                                                                2. re: carolinadawg

                                                                  It's actually not a meaningless phrase, because there are people whose incomes are fixed and there are people whose incomes are variable whether because there chances for promotion, salary increases, bonuses, change of field, etc. If you're taking definition of fixed as in "determined" then sure, you're right but then you're ignoring how this phrase is popularly used and used in this text.

                                                                  Senior citizens, people who are disabled, military veterans, live with the reality of a "fixed income". Saying that the phrase is meaningless is sort of callous.

                                                              2. re: ferret

                                                                Your salary increases????? The problem is that prices increase, but salary doesn't. Ours has gone backwards!

                                                                1. re: Kajikit

                                                                  It doesn't work equally well for all, obviously, but despite the great increase in prices since the Great Depression, we are, for the most part, much better off.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    <since the Great Depression, we are, for the most part, much better off.>

                                                                    Possibly until the next generation. As you know, this is known as the jobless recovery. I think it is the first time that we get out of a recession/depression without a economic boom. Regardless, up til now, the average people are better off than 50 years ago, and people from 50 years ago are better off than those of 100 years ago....etc.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      Many would make a strong argument that being the only country with its manufacturing base in tact following WWII led to an unprecedented rise in our standard of living which could not be sustained once the rest of the world got its manufacturing capacity back and our standard of living actually peaked in the early 1970's. Remove the 2nd professional income and the cheap imported goods from the family and the picture gets a lot clearer.

                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                        I would add that Germany's industrial capacity rebounded quickly after WWII and again after the wall came down. And now all eyes turn to Angela Merkel to salvage the EU...that's a lot of pressure.

                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                          Just a reminder, folks, to try to keep this on topics that are at least vaguely related to food. Thanks.

                                                                      2. re: GH1618

                                                                        "...since the Great Depression, we are, for the most part, much better off."

                                                                        Um, no. Absolutely not! Education was better, local government services were better, ALL domestic things funded by local, state, and federal taxes were better BECAUSE.... are you ready for this??? BECAUSE while World War II did indeed pull us out of the Great Depression "in a heart beat," so to speak, it also REDEFINED our economy into one where creating war weaponry is now our driving economic force. That, in turn, means we have to not only participate in wars ourselves, but we (as in our government) must also feed our military industrial weapons manufacturers by licensing them to sell weapons to governments of congressional choice. In turn it is our federal policy to extend humanitarian support to countries damaged by our actions.

                                                                        My guess is that we've passed the tipping point and "policy" has overtaken reality and we simply can no longer keep up with the demands of the common sense funding we NEED as a society while funding foreign policies that drain our financial balance,

                                                                        At least ten years or so ago, I synopsized such problems with "Caroline's Law" which states: "ALL bureaucracies operate at an intelligence level at least ten IQ points lower than the stupidest person who works there."

                                                                        Congress is my proof.

                                                                    2. re: ferret

                                                                      Ten years ago I might have agreed with your statement but since the great recession wages have been so stagnant that I don't find many folks making that assumption. I think a lot of folks younger than me don't remember the 1970s when food prices really did go up a lot.

                                                                      1. re: ferret

                                                                        I totally understand what you're saying, ferret, I listen to it every day- mostly from one conversation-hogging lunch partner, but wow- doesn't anybody understand the whole-thing rollout when prices go up it's because somebody else is making more? I'm a financial retard, and I get that. Look at the Detroit auto makers' union- greedily priced themselves right out of the market, with disastrous consequences. I'm not saying that the auto unions ruined the economy, but by God they really contributed to the ruin of Detroit.
                                                                        For every financial action there's an equal (maybe, if you're lucky) and opposite reaction. You don't have to be simple-minded to follow the numbers.

                                                                      2. In the past five years much of the production costs have doubled. That is my "guess".

                                                                        Fuel has more than doubled...everything in the world is based off fuel costs...farming in particular.

                                                                        1. Food inflation rates are gauged by a "basket" of food commodities, which currently is inflating about 2.4%. There are political influences that may soon effect dairy product prices, as well as corn/ethanol fuel mandates and prices.
                                                                          Your jelly went up, because you, and others, like it!
                                                                          The largest storm in the American fields is the imminent ruin of our citrus crops from airborne bacterial disease.

                                                                          38 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            The Bureau of Labor Statistics has changed the way they calculate inflation, they now include substitution which they previously did not. Meaning, if chicken was $3/lb and beef was $5/lb now beef is $7/lb and chicken is $5/lb, no inflation per BLS because you could buy chicken at the same price as beef from the year prior. Under the previous schematic, substitution was not allowed.

                                                                            And yes, I think my jelly is fairly popular, it's really delicious (and not too sweet), or else I wouldn't be this upset.

                                                                            1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                              I abhor the misuse of statistical data, but what is your delicious jelly?

                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                Crofters. I didn't want my post to seem like a plug for them :) It's just soooo good (plus the bear on the label is really cute).

                                                                                I've been thinking about jelly but it's just so expensive now. :(

                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                    Blueberries and cherry, is that bad? :p

                                                                                    1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                      Sounds pretty good! On English muffins or with wild game!

                                                                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                        Has anyone checked the prices of black currant jelly lately? It's kicking up the price of my holiday gravies and sauces by a big chunk of change! <sigh>

                                                                                        1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                          The inflationary component of currants is not current.

                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                              You make a great straight man, Kid! '-)

                                                                                              1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                Straight? My friends say I'm so crooked they will have to screw me into the ground....

                                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                                      I read somewhere that 6 out of 4 statistics are incorrect.

                                                                                      1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                        But I calculate that 57% of rumors are true.

                                                                                        1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                          Often statistics are worth about as much as a single sheet of toilet paper :-)

                                                                                          1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                            I've also heard that 99% of all statistics are made up on the spot!

                                                                                            1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                              I feel certain, Caroline, that they aren't. They're the result of so much computerized pencil-whipping (aka spreadsheets) it would make your head spin, and then they throw in a bunch of randomly-searched stats that push the results in the desired direction.
                                                                                              It's ugly, but for some reason it gets believed.

                                                                                        2. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                          The BLS gives a somewhat different explanation of substitution:


                                                                                          1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                            There are different formulas to calculate different things and sound arguments can be made for doing so but that also open the door for manipulation and false long term reporting, not that our politicians would ever do that! :-)

                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                              The people at the Bureau of Labor Statistics are not politicians, they are economists and statisticians. The BLS is independent. Its methods are not determined by political influence.

                                                                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                In many cases their re-appointment is absolutely determined by politicians. Wasn't the FED also supposed to be independent?

                                                                                                I understand the academics of it all. I also understand the reality.

                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                  The economists and statisticians at BLS are not political appointees, they are civil service employees and they are professionals. The BLS is independent of political influence and it is a cheap shot to accuse professionals of putting politics ahead of professionalism when there is no evidence whatsoever that this is so.

                                                                                                  The Federal Reserve is also independent. The President appoints (with Senate confirmation) the Board of Governers, but he can't dictate the policy. Congress can call the chairman of the Fed before a hearing to explain the Fed's policies, and argue that the policies should be different, but can't dictate policy. Congress can intervene only by rewriting the legislation that applies to the Fed. While this is done from time to time for some agencies, I don't think the structure or operations of the Fed have been changed since the Banking Act of 1935.

                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                    This is true, but during the vetting process of Federal Reserve Chairpersons as we are experiencing currently, we learn a great deal about the likely policies candidates will pursue, and choose accordingly.

                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                      Like most Government agencies, rank and file are Civil service, but many at the top are not.

                                                                                                      As for the Fed, the structure is no mystery nor is the appointment process. To say politics does not influence its monetary decisions though is naive.

                                                                                                      1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                        Whether the Federal Reserve is independent or not, it is clearly not impartial. It has demonstrated that it will act in a manner inconsistent with the good of the general public and shown extreme partiality to corporate interests, especially with regard to JP Morgan Chase.


                                                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                            As Goldman Sachs earns $100 million per day.
                                                                                                            Per DAY. And stays out of the line of fire.

                                                                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                              Tons of people in this administration have ties to Goldman.

                                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                As will future administrations. This is no coincidence. An equally scary one is Blackstone, which steers 7% of the wealth in the world.

                                                                                                                1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  Oh I agree. I shouldn't have implied this is only true of this administration. However, this is definitely true at least for now. I cannot speak of the future, but it is likely to be the case.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                    Blackstone Group? *THAT* Blackstone Group? The guys with the "purported" ties with the Central Intelligence Agency? THAT Blackstone Group, as in Armitage and friends????? Oh, my goodness! '-)

                                                                                                                2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                  And let's don't even talk about insider trading! '-(

                                                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                          " Figures don't lie, but liars can figure.... "

                                                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                      Not to mention the devastating impact of things like "empty hive syndrome" among bees! Fasten your seatbelts and hold on tightly because we're in for a bumpy ride!

                                                                                                      1. re: Caroline1

                                                                                                        That and citrus greening disease are indeed the gathering clouds before the storm.

                                                                                                      2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                        Ethanol was a lousy fuel during WWII, was just as lousy in the 1970's and is no better now. Absolute boondoggle.

                                                                                                        "Political Influences" ......never seem very balanced to me.....Blue Ribbon panels scare the hell out of me, would rather deal with a mugger!

                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                          Ethanol works in Brazil, but was a fool's model for the US to chase. VERY different conditions on the supply and demand side.

                                                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                            Yeah, Brazil starts off with sugar. We have to use energy to evaporate the moisture from corn which is the majority of its weight and then convert it to sugar. Not very efficient to say the least.

                                                                                                        2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                          The unadjusted CPI for food at home for the 12-month period through November is only six-tenths of one percent:


                                                                                                        3. I have a ton of examples of paying the same or more for less actual product in the past few years....
                                                                                                          Ice creams that used to be a pint are now less (3.5 servings per vs 4) yet same price or even more.
                                                                                                          Yogurt cups that are now 5oz vs previous 6oz
                                                                                                          Pasta sold as 14oz or even 12oz vs previous 16oz

                                                                                                          What i have notices that is very popular is the companies re-do the package design and include redundant inane phrases like "heart healthy" or "all natural"- vague phrases that are not regulated and actually meaningless as a way to convince us to pay more for less...

                                                                                                          In manhattan grocery prices can be obscene in the first place, so this trend of less for more money is especially annoying.....

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Ttrockwood

                                                                                                            <that is very popular is the companies re-do the package design and include redundant inane phrases like "heart healthy" or "all natural"- vague phrases >

                                                                                                            That is a whole different thing all together. This is in fact market for people with extra income -- who are willing to pay more.

                                                                                                          2. Ten years ago, I could get fresh (Maine) mussels for $0.50/lb. I'm now paying $1.25/lb at the same grocer.

                                                                                                            That's a 150% increase in just 10 years.

                                                                                                            8 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: Clams047

                                                                                                              Correct me if I'm wrong but back then you use to be Clams100 as well. Now look!

                                                                                                              1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                Ha ha ha. This is funny. Hi five, jrvedivici.

                                                                                                                <I could get fresh (Maine) mussels for $0.50/lb. I'm now paying $1.25/lb at the same grocer. >

                                                                                                                I think this is generally true of many seafood. No dispute from me. However, certain food prices have gone down (% of income).


                                                                                                                1. re: jrvedivici

                                                                                                                  Actually, I was 185 and now I'm about 205.

                                                                                                                2. re: Clams047

                                                                                                                  The food inflation index looks at a typical shopping cart. I'm pretty sure fresh mussels wouldn't be in it. A lot of fresh seafood has gone up much more than the average inflation. I used to buy a whole salmon on occasion without it seeming extravagant. Now it seems far too expensive.

                                                                                                                  Whatever people's experience with their favorite gourmet items, food inflation has been low for quite a long time, as BLS reports document.

                                                                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                    I grew up as a protestant in a largely Irish-Italian catholic New England town, and my mother would observe the no-meat Friday tradition not out of sympathy but out of economy. We could go to Cappiello's fish market and have him carve a thick slice from a fresh whole swordfish to feed 7 of us, on the cheap on Fridays.
                                                                                                                    How I miss those days!

                                                                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                                                                      I buy all the meat and seafood and my wife buys the rest of the food items / paper goods / cleaners / toiletries / hygiene and pretty much everything else a family gets at the supermarket or stores such as Target. Coming from a large family she matches sales & coupons and can hit prices within 2% off the top of her head. By her estimate prices are up over 100% in the last 10 years. To challenge her one better have their numbers in order.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                        I'm the same way, I remember prices and quantities. Companies do try to make it as difficult as possible to comparison shop though, it gets tricky at times.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                          Your right & I doubt these and many other factors could possibly be picked up by the statisticians. According to my wife:

                                                                                                                          Quantities have gone down on many items, even if ever so slightly.

                                                                                                                          Major changes with coupons as well. Expiration dates are much shorter making it much more difficult to time them with a sale.

                                                                                                                          Computerization has tightened up how coupons are redeemed and it is more difficult to use a specific manufactures coupon for a similar product from within the same line.

                                                                                                                          Also the requirements to buy more items to use a coupon have increased. For example, used to be $1.00 off 2 boxes of an item reducing the cost of each item by $.50. Now in many cases you have to buy 3 boxes which only reduces the price per box by $.33 cents.

                                                                                                                          Also, in our area, the closing of several supermarkets has reduced the ability to shop multiple stores for sale items.

                                                                                                                          Another much ignored factor is the increased practice of pumping food with what is essentially water. In many cases, chicken, turkey and pork products to name a few are pumped with up to 15% solution meaning only 85% of the weight you are paying for is actually product, the rest is water. I wish I could sell water for $2.50 an oz.

                                                                                                                  2. You know, personally, I don't really notice any real "inflation" although some things are more expensive, I find that some things are less expensive because they are not so "special" or hard to come by, anymore. Just the sheer number of regular grocery items in a typical grocery store is astounding.

                                                                                                                    I also don't eat anywhere (remotely) like I did 30 years ago either! When I was a "youngster" and was just starting to cook, I just ate so differently than I do now. I can't compare much at all. I no longer drink cow milk or buy bread or boxed cereal...I don't eat Kraft cheese or buy canned beans or soups, etc.

                                                                                                                    There are also so many specialty products ( aka "exotic" items) available now -that were not available years ago. Hard to tell on a personal level.

                                                                                                                    1. That's what you can see. I'm sure the ingredients have also been cheapened and/or diluted.

                                                                                                                      1. A half-gallon of ice cream has been a quart and a half for some time now so yesterday when I picked up the half-gallon of French Vanilla at Trader Joe's I wondered why it was so heavy...they've stayed with the full half-gallon.

                                                                                                                        1. The big cans of Budweiser at Safeway went from 24 ounces to 25 ounces. Winning!

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                              When you're feeling about a quart low, the Foster's oil cans are 25.4 ounces.

                                                                                                                              1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                Fosters is a better beer but I think that big can is about $1.25 more than the Bud.

                                                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                  It's $1.88 at my Publix, sometimes on sale 6 for $10.
                                                                                                                                  It used to remind my of my nice times in Australia, and then I learned the Foster's I enjoy in Florida is made in Fort Worth!
                                                                                                                                  I prefer the ale to the lager.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                    It is like $3.50 here in Oregon. I prefer the ale as well.

                                                                                                                            2. Inflation? Maybe. You may have noticed that the stock market has reached all time highs driven in large part by all time high profits. Now if the price went up and the profit margin remained the same, I could agree with "inflation". When the price goes up and the profits increase greatly, I'll go with cartel behavior and greed. YMMV

                                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: akachochin

                                                                                                                                I don't understand why people are flipping out about the existence of inflation.

                                                                                                                                Inflation is extremely normal. It is really a matter of high inflation vs low inflation.

                                                                                                                                Forget about the deeper explanation of energy price and gold price. Just forget about all of these for a second. Inflation has to exist because, in the simplest driving force, "today's money" worth more than "future's money".

                                                                                                                                If I buy a car from you, and I say to you: "I can either give you the $30,000 now, or I can give you the $30,000 ten years from now." Everyone will take the money now. This is because the $30,000 now almost always worth more than $30,000 in the future. This is the very core reason for inflation.

                                                                                                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                  Recently The Economist did a very compelling and informative article about the perils of deflation. The most pronounced example in recent times was a moribund economy in Japan for more than a decade.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                    <The Economist did a very compelling and informative article about the perils of deflation>

                                                                                                                                    Deflation is fairly rare. In US, it only occurred during the Great Depression. In Japan, like you said, deflation occurred after the Japan Asset Price Bubble. Deflation only happens in some of the very worst economic situations known to human history.

                                                                                                                                    Obviously, we don't want high inflation like Iran. However, it really amazes me that some people simply have low tolerance of any form of inflation. No, inflation is a good thing. High inflation is not, but inflation itself is a good thing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                      I suspect there's a bit of forest vs trees type of observation going on here... The Great depression was TRIGGERED by a global economic melt down that was a direct result of the way Wall Street allowed "buying on margin." BUT... "Black Friday" is not the only factor that heavily impacted upon the U.S. ability to recover from that market crash. "The Dust Bowl" was a MAJOR economic destructive force because it wiped out -- TOTALLY wiped out! -- a LOT of critically important American farm land that produced very important food supplies for the U.S., as well as for some other countries.

                                                                                                                                      In today's world, the international shipping of food (that so many of us complain about because we can buy fresh foods out of season as well as in season) is in reality, a huge factor in contributing to global stability in developed countries simply because it insures against such national disasters, and ensures food supplies to the economically developed countries of the world. If this system had been in place when the stock market bellied up in 1929, the U.S.'s recovery from The Great Depression would have been much swifter! Remember.... EVERYTHING is connected!

                                                                                                                                      Hope I don't trip climbing down off this damned soap box! '-)

                                                                                                                                      Oh, and does anybody remember a show called "Connections?" I think it was a BBC/PBS production that was hosted by Sir Richard Attenborough, but I'm not certain about that... Any one remember it?

                                                                                                                                    2. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                      Veggo, the trope about the dangers of deflation tends to ignore that inflation disproportionately hurts the poor. It tends to elevate food and energy costs more so than non-essentials, and these items comprise a significantly greater portion of a poor person or family's budget.

                                                                                                                                      Many of the articles in the media, are making a case for inflation to promote certain economic policies such as QE. Inflation penalizes savers, low-income, fixed income elderly and disabled. The very wealthy are largely insulated from inflation because their assets are tied in equity markets or property that rise in value with inflation. Deflation penalizes ultra wealthy, because they tend to leverage their assets.

                                                                                                                                      I have friends and family in Japan who lived through the boom times and the "lost decade". Income inequality is much lower in Japan than the US and the so-called "lost decade" has been peacefully passed by millions of Japanese who have enjoyed high quality of life during that time. The problems Japan face are more complicated than simple deflation and using it as an example of the evils of deflation is simplistic.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                        You make very valid points. I have reservations about capitalist systems that depend on a level of inflation, and an ever-increasing population, for that system to perpetuate.
                                                                                                                                        These are fast moving, never-been-seen-before times.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Veggo

                                                                                                                                          <I have reservations about capitalist systems that depend on a level of inflation>

                                                                                                                                          I have to disagree. While a capitalist system has inflation, it is not unique to a capitalist society. Inflation has pretty existed as long as human history, as long as the beginning of any form of trading.

                                                                                                                                          The other point is a historical perspective. I think it is unhealthy to ask for a zero inflation system for any society -- capitalistic or not. Currently, we have a historically low inflation about 1.2%?


                                                                                                                                          Do you think it will be better of if we have a 0.5% inflation?

                                                                                                                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                                            I realize your thinking revolves around the time value of money, but I posit that there can/should be a real nominal interest rate in a non-inflation environment, which is not the case today with QE, an artificially contrived scheme to mandate profits from high spreads for banks so they can earn their way our of the hole they dug. You may be too young to remember 5% passbook savings accounts at local S&L's. Wouldn't that be attractive today?

                                                                                                                                2. Well the price of my tuna salad has gone up from $7.99 to $9.99/lbs today and they started adding giant cherry tomatoes and this soupy sauce which add to the weight. Food budget goes up yet again....

                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu

                                                                                                                                    Price of canned tuna on sale holding steady at $1 a can for solid white for the last bunch of years. Of course the can has shrunk a bit....

                                                                                                                                  2. People are broke everywhere, especially here in CA. When we see price increase by $2-3 carton wise, movement on produce is extremely slow. For example, an open box manilla mango (notably bigger size mango) with 10 count sells for $8, but when a smaller size 10ct mango box with lid sells for $6. Which box are consumer is willing to pay? Almost always, they will go for $6 even though the $8 is a much better deal regardless of quality.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: mingvg

                                                                                                                                      Seems CA & NY are expensive in every way.

                                                                                                                                    2. I saw delicious storemade Italian sausage links go from $1.49-$1.99 to $3.29-$3.69 in the past year, where a local store went from being a Shur-Fine to a Sav-A-Lot with the same owner/butcher. It was supposed to save us money....yeah right..now the remodeled store reminds me of a third world bargain basement and offers mostly processed foods with poly syllabic ingredients .JUNK!

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: Raffles

                                                                                                                                        Beef is up a good 20% over same time last year & there is a lot of chatter about problems with piglets which is driving the pork market up. 2014 is likely going to be an expensive grilling season.

                                                                                                                                      2. A big problem, worldwide ,is that inflation is hitting the lowest wage earnesr the most, those who survive on"rice and beans' for example...and they out number all other demographics....watch out..according to NASA...