PracticalDad Price Index – September 2014:  New Highs Reached

The pricing is in for the September 2014 edition of the PracticalDad Price Index and what really caught my eye was the proud New Look! advertised in the upper right corner of the Dial Soap packaging.  This makes up for the fact that the soap offered now comes in packages of six bars instead of the previous eight bars, another example of stealth inflation that we’ve seen over the years.  This product is one of the multiple reasons that the PracticalDad Price Index has risen in September to new highs for both the 47 item marketbasket Full Index as well as the 37 item Food-Only Subindex.

The Total Index of 47 items rose to a new high of 111.07 (November 2010 = 100) and the Food-Only Subindex of 37 foodstuff items also rose to a new high of 114.73 (November 2010 = 100), surpassing the previous high index of 114.33 reached in December 2012.

What was notable about the month’s data was that stealth inflation has occurred again.  In the first instance, a grocer’s store brand package of hot dogs decreased in size from a previous package of 16 ounces to the new package of 15 ounces for the same number of hot dogs.  This particular grocer has consistently had the highest priced dogs amongst the three separate sampled grocers and it’s impossible to determine yet if the other two will follow along with this move.  The other instance of stealth inflation will be followed by the other two within the next several months since that product is a national brand, Dial Bath Soap; the new package size comprises six bars instead of the previous eight bars and was found on the shelf of one of the stores.  As the others sell off that inventory, they will also begin to sell the reduced size packaging of six bars of soap.  The New Look! advertised supposedly refers to the individual bar but with no previous bar for comparison, I can only note that the new look refers to the size of the entire package.  In each of these instances, I have continued as before by adjusting the price to reflect what it would be selling for the original package sizing.

Since much attention has been placed on the rise in protein prices, most specifically ground beef, I thought it would be worth noting that in the almost four years since the start of the PracticalDad Price Index, a pound of 80% lean ground beef has risen by 44%, from the November 2010 average price of $3.02/lb. to $4.36/lb.  The results for September and the previous three months are listed below.


PracticalDad Price Index – September 2014
Month Total Index Food-Only Index Spread
6/14 110.53 112.65 2.12
7/14 110.20 113.22 3.02
8/14 110.14 113.71 3.57
9/14 111.07 114.73 3.66

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