US: food inflation anecdote

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There are two points that interest me here:

  1. food price margins have been squeezed so tightly by fuel, borrowing and commodity prices that there is no give in the system either for ‘sales’ or for substitution. It’s a good thing that food is understated in all CPI measures (worldwide or at least in the western world) as they would otherwise be through the roof.
  2. Mish is clearly not a poor man, yet he takes the time and effort to buy efficiently (when the price is low he buys). How many even moderately well off Irish people do the same? Do they really expect to stay wealthy doing this? Will Donnybrook Fair reward them for their loyalty?

While I admire his attempts to economise, buying cheap meat is often a false economy. A chicken reared in a warehouse, pumped full of antibiotics and fed only maize and vitamin supplements will not give you the same nourishment and sustenance as a chicken wandering around a farmyard and paddock eating whatever nature provides.

Ive learnt through experience not to economise on meat, milk (dont buy Lidl milk), eggs, and cheese. The cheap versions are not the same product.

re: point 1, there is a lot of gouging of british manufactured goods sold here. However yes food inflation, my weekly box shredded wheat are nearly 5 squid.
I always look for deals when shopping, two for the price of one, etc. I find when buying a ‘2 for 1’ pack of deodorant, one can is often a dud. I’m thinking their quality department are able to determine the duds for ‘2 for 1’ promotions.
As for meat, poultry, lamb, usually they are marked down here when coming close to the use-by date. I try to buy in a butchers if I can.

Ah yes breakfast cereals. One of the highest margin products in the supermarket.

Theres a reason that breakfast cereals take up an entire aisle in the supermarket and why there are so many TV advertisements for them. Because they are incredibly profitable for the companys selling them.

I never buy breakfast cereals. I cant imagine paying “5 squid” for a breakfast cereal. There are loads of alternatives like bread, porridge oats.

Supermarkets are reducing the amount of food on their shelves and loading them up with products that I call “taste entertainment”. Biscuits, crisps, cereals, soft drinks, icecream, alcohol and other non essential crap are taking up the 80% of the store space.

This country needs a junk food tax, maybe in the form of a tax on sugar.

Off topic slightly, the shredded wheat are low sugar. Porridge and SW are the only ones I buy, the rest are sugar rushes. As for a sugar tax, I shudder to think what the manufacturers would replace it with. Thinking about your comment on 80% of storage space going to non-staple foods, that makes sense. I’m sugar averse, I find wandering around supermarkets takes longer and longer to find staple foods.

Well we already have VAT on confectionary but not on food. Thats why we have half a supermarket aisle dedicated to biscuits, which are classed as food and therefore dont attract VAT. Some firm in the UK got a huge tax rebate after they legally challenged the classification of their Teacakes as confectionary and got them reclassified as biscuits.

Im not an expert on the issue but Id like to see healthy food made cheaper and junk food made more expensive. A tax on all sweeteners would work.