The trips to the stores are done and the data is crunched, and the results of the January 2011 PracticalDad Price Index show that the index of the market basket in January dropped from 100.78 to 100.55. For all of the talk about the threat of inflation, the index is down for the month so inflation must be a bogeyman…or not. Let’s take a look at the results in some detail after one or two comments. First, data doesn’t present itself in a steadily increasing or decreasing line from one month to the next. On a monthly basis, numbers can bounce, chop and veer like a senator on a bender and it’s on a rolling, averaged basis that trends become more clear. Second, gathering prices can be complicated by a store’s decision on various products, such as whether to swap out one product for another and this is something that I encountered during the price surveys. In two instances, the absence of a product from the shelves caused me to simply not price the item at that particular store.
And now for some comments and the results.
- Multiple items rose in price – especially in commodity based categories such as rice and grains – but these were offset principally by the drop in cost of a single item, specifically a pound of cooked ham lunchmeat. In this instance, the danger of a small market basket priced at three stores showed as one store apparently swapped out a product with a much lower cost competitor so that the monthly average for that item skewed downwards.
- Cereals – store brand kids’ frosted flakes, oatmeal and store brand rice chex – all rose in price with the frosted flakes rising almost 15% in a three month period. Likewise, a pound of spaghetti rose from an average of $1.11/lb to $1.18/lb.
- Canned vegetables showed a slight rise from $.89/can to $.92/can and this is attributable to a single store with significant price rises in these items while the other stores held constant.
- Store brand vanilla ice cream has shown a consistent rise in three months from November’s $1.85/qt to January’s $2.04/qt. What’s interesting in this case is that one store that held the item price constant did however, change the unit cost from a quart basis to a pint basis, setting up a possible future run-up in price.
- Other prices remained flat or bounced around a bit and in another article, I’ll start with a three-month rolling average for the prices within the marketbasket.
|Item||Size||Category||11/10 Avg Price||12/10 Avg Price||1/11 Avg Price|
|hot dog rolls, store brand||8||bread||1.09||1.09||1.09|
|loaf, wht brd, store brand (oz)||20||bread||1.12||1.12||1.12|
|spaghetti, store brand (oz)||16||bread||1.11||1.11||1.18|
|child cereal, sugar flakes, store brand (oz)||17||cereal||2.53||2.74||2.90|
|cereal, rice chex, store brand (oz)||12.8||cereal||2.69||2.66||2.74|
|oatmeal, one minute, store brand (oz)||42||cereal||3.12||3.12||3.18|
|milk, 2% (gallon)||1||dairy||3.54||3.54||3.46|
|butter, unsalted (lb)||1||dairy||3.56||3.49||3.56|
|vanilla ice cream, store brand (qt)||1||dairy||1.85||1.88||2.04|
|grated parmesan, store brand (oz)||8||dairy||2.99||2.99||2.99|
|American Cheese (lb)||1||dairy||5.85||5.52||5.52|
|peanut butter, store brand (oz)||28||grocery||2.96||2.96||2.96|
|grape jelly, store brand (oz)||32||grocery||1.82||1.82||1.89|
|kidney beans, dark, store brand (oz)||15.5||grocery||.86||.86||.86|
|can green peas, store brand (oz)||15||grocery||.89||.89||.92|
|can diced tomatoes, store brand (oz)||14.5||grocery||.94||.94||.94|
|can cut green beans, store brand (oz)||14.5||grocery||.89||.89||.92|
|can corn, store brand (oz)||15.25||grocery||.89||.89||.92|
|spaghetti sauce, store brand (oz)||26||grocery||1.13||1.13||1.13|
|cola, store brand (L)||2||grocery||.89||.89||.89|
|caffeinated coffee, store brand (oz)||13||grocery||2.96||3.25||3.24|
|diapers, size 3, store brand (ct)||104||baby||17.35||17.35||17.82|
|formula, Enfamil Premium, Lipil (oz)||23.4||baby||22.93||24.02||22.94|
|child ibuprofen, OS, store brand (oz)||4||hlth/bty||4.69||4.82||4.96|
|adult ibuprofen, caplet, store brand (ct)||100||hlth/bty||6.79||6.72||6.92|
|shampoo, Suave (oz)||22.5||hlth/bty||1.74||1.74||1.71|
|pads, long, Poise (ct)||42||hlth/bty||16.09||16.09||16.09|
|bath soap, Dial brand (ct)||8||hlth/bty||5.39||5.39||5.39|
|aluminum foil, store brand (sq ft)||75||hshld||2.90||2.97||2.97|
|kitchen trash bags, store brand (ct)||26||hshld||4.11||4.11||4.41|
|paper towels, 2 ply, store brand||8||hshld||7.26||7.26||7.26|
|hot dogs, meat franks, store brand (oz)||16||meat||2.46||2.46||2.46|
|ground beef, 80% lean (per lb, bulk)||1||meat||3.02||3.02||3.32|
|eggs, large (dozen)||1||meat||1.62||2.01||1.99|
|lunchmeat, ham (lb)||1||meat||5.56||5.12||4.59|
|chicken, roaster (lb)||1||meat||1.52||1.52||1.56|
|fish sticks, Gorton’s (ct)||44||meat||7.69||7.96||7.86|
|tuna, water packed, store brand (oz)||5||meat||.96||1.32||.96|
|apples, Red Delicious, bag (lb)||3||produce||3.66||3.59||3.42|
|OJ, original, store brand (oz)||64||produce||2.66||2.16||2.43|
|potatoes, Russet (lb)||5||produce||3.82||3.99||3.66|
|sugar, store brand (lb)||5||staple||3.12||3.12||3.12|
|flour, all purpose, store brand (lb)||5||staple||1.96||1.96||1.92|
|canola oil, store brand (oz)||48||staple||3.12||3.12||3.12|
|rice, white, long-grain (lb)||2||staple||1.69||1.59||1.59|
This will be followed shortly by another article laying out the first information on a three month rolling average basis. I regret the delay in posting this information and expect that this delay will not be occurring again.