About grocery inflation

Kevin Drum has a timely post on grocery inflation. Overall, it’s at 1% now.

“Why do so many people still think inflation is high? It’s because they don’t respond to averages. They respond to outliers.”


“Frozen juice is up 27%. Baby food is up 9%. Ground beef is up 6%. When you shop for groceries, these things are going to stand out.

“Now, it’s also true that eggs are down 17%. Apples are down 10%. Fruits, vegetables, chicken, and dozens of other items have been flat. But you don’t really notice that. You notice the occasional item that’s way higher than it used to be.”

Frozen juice inflation is due to citrus greening disease in Florida and a poor Southeast Asian sugar crop. Egg prices are about to go up since 1.6 million hens have been culled because of bird flu.

Also too, from the comment thread:

“ . . . some people think that inflation is another word for high prices. When inflation moderated in the early 80s, shoppers in stores interviewed for one news program said basically, ‘What do you mean inflation is down? Prices haven’t gone down.’

“Then there are all the times over the years I’ve seen newscasters stating that ‘inflation went up again last month’ when the latest inflation figures are released, even if inflation was lower than in the previous month. People are conditioned to think that higher inflation means higher prices, period, rather than the more complex idea of a faster rise in prices than in the previous period.”

Grocery inflation is low