Practical Dad

PracticalDad Price Index:  April 2011 Increases to 101.96 as Coffee Perks Along

We can get the food inflation data from commodities brokers, the Main Stream Media, the CEO of Walmart, or from PracticalDad's market basket.  The April 2011 Price Index is now collected and calculated and the PracticalDad Price Index has risen to 101.96 from March's figure of 101.19.  In other words, the 47 items in the marketbasket have risen 1.97% since the Index inception six months ago.  The cost of the April marketbasket was $181.91 versus the March marketbasket cost of 180.52.

Yes, the grains are rising and the coffee is percolating along.

Apart from statistical noise and the occasional price drop - yes, that does happen - what's notable for the month?

  • Grain based products - hot dog rolls and spaghetti noodles - increased 3.5% and 2.5% respectively.  This caps off a cumulative six-month price rise of 8.2% (hot dog rolls), 8.9% (white bread) and 9% (spaghetti).
  • Coffee rose an additional 4.3% - with no adjustment of package size - to an adjusted cost of $3.87 for a 13 oz can of store brand coffee.  Coffee's cumulative six-month rise is now 30.7% and part of that rise is due to stealth inflation by two retailers who decreased the package size.
  • Paper towels rose by 5.9% during the month.
  • While most produce was flat, carrots rose 12.7% for a cumulative rise of 18.3% since November.
  • Next to the rise in carrots was the 11.7% for Canola Oil, which has now risen by 31% in the six months since November.

Canola oil? 

Yes, Canola oil, alias Can(adian) O(il) L(ow) A(cid).  This is a cooking oil derived from the dried and processed seed of the canola plant, grown in quantities mostly in Canada, although it's also grown in Europe and in the US Plains states.  It's one of the healthier cooking oils as it's lower in saturated fat and higher in mono-unsaturated fat than other plant-derived oils.  It's now used extensively in processed food production and byproducts of the canola oil production cycle are used by more than a few beef producers as feedcake.

As I've looked at the price jumps in the past three months, I've also come to find that there's a high correlation between canola (and other vegetable oils) and heating oil prices because of the increasing use of biofuels to offset higher oil prices.

Practically speaking, this is a great example of watching the rat work through the python.  Rises in an input commodity such as canola oil are partially caused by the rise in oil prices, and then work their way through the processed food pricing structure as well input costs for beef producers. 

So let's look at the final April data.

 

PracticalDad Price Index - April 2011
Item Size Category 2/11 Avg Price 3/11 Avg Price 4/11 Avg Price
 hot dog rolls (ct) 8 bread 1.12 1.14 1.18
 loaf, wht bread, store brand (oz) 20 bread 1.12 1.22 1.22
spaghetti, store brand (oz) 16 bread 1.18 1.18 1.21
child cereal, sugar flakes, store brand (oz) 17 cereal 2.90 2.90 2.90
cereal, rice chex, store brand (oz) 12.8 cereal 2.74 2.74 2.74
oatmeal, one minute, store brand (oz) 42 cereal 3.18 3.21 3.21
milk, 2% (gallon) 1 dairy 3.51 3.68 3.68
butter, unsalted, store brand (lb) 1 dairy 3.39 3.49 3.49
vanilla ice cream, store brand (qt) 1 dairy 1.94 1.94 1.99
grated parmesan cheese, store brand (oz) 8 dairy 3.08 3.08 3.08
American Cheese, deli (lb) 1 dairy 5.86 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 1.82
kidney beans, dark, store brand (oz) 15.5 grocery .87 .87 .87
can green peas, store brand (oz) 15 grocery .92 .92 .92
can diced tomatoes, store brand (oz) 14.5 grocery .94 .94 .94
can cut green beans, store brand (oz) 14.5 grocery .92 .92 .92
can corn, store brand (oz) 15.25 grocery .92 .92 .92
spaghetti sauce, store brand (oz) 26 grocery 1.13 1.13 1.13
cola, store brand (L) 2 grocery .89 .92 .92
caffeinated coffee, store brand (oz) 13 grocery 3.38 3.71 3.87
diapers, store brand, size 3 (ct) 104 baby 17.82 17.82 17.82
formula, Enfamil Premium, lipil (oz) 23.4 baby 22.94 22.94 22.94
child ibuprofen, OS, store brand (oz) 4 hlth/bty 4.96 4.96 4.96
adult ibuprofen, store brand (ct) 100 hlth/bty 6.72 6.72 6.72
shampoo, Suave (oz) 22.5 hlth/bty 1.71 1.71 1.71
pads, long, Poise (ct) 42 hlth/bty 16.09 16.09 16.09
bath soap, Dial (ct) 8 hlth/bty 5.39 5.39 5.39
aluminum foil, store brand (sq ft) 75 hshld 2.97 2.97 2.97
kitchen trash bags, store brand (ct) 26 hshld 4.11 4.15 4.11
paper towels, 2 ply, store brand (ct) 8 hshld 7.26 7.26 7.69
hot dogs, meat franks, store brand (oz) 16 meat 2.46 2.46 2.46
ground beef, 80% lean (lb) 1 meat 3.32 3.32 3.32
eggs, large (doz) 1 meat 1.71 1.72 1.69
lunchmeat, deli ham (lb) 1 meat 4.06 4.06 4.06
chicken, roaster (lb) 1 meat 1.62 1.59 1.56
fish sticks, Gortons (ct) 44 meat 7.86 7.86

7.86

tuna, water-packed, store brand (oz) 5 meat .78 .78 .78
bananas (lb) 1 produce .58 .58 .58
apples, red delicious, bag (lb) 3 produce 3.76 3.59 3.76
carrots, bag (lb) 2 produce 2.02 2.12 2.39
OJ, non-concentrate, store brand (oz) 64 produce 2.66 2.66 2.66
potatoes, Russet (lb) 5 produce 3.82 3.99 3.99
sugar, store brand (lb) 5 staple 3.21 3.24 3.16
flour, All Purpose, store brand (lb) 5 staple 1.99 1.99 1.99
canola oil, store brand (oz) 48 staple 3.26 3.66 4.09
rice, white, long-grain, store brand (lb) 2 staple 1.67 1.67 1.67
           
                 Total     179.50 180.52  181.91

 

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