Letter Re: Proof of Staple Food Price Inflation

Captain Rawles,
First, continued thanks for your blog; I regularly read a number of web sites and in my opinion Survivalblog.com is ground zero for preparedness and socio/political/economic intelligence information. Second, I thought I’d pass on some additional proof (as if it wasn’t already obvious) of significant inflation in food prices.
We shop at the local Mormon (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) cannery near Denver for wheat, pasta, nonfat dried milk and other bulk items. For those who didn’t know, the Mormon canneries are open to non-members (at least for now) and the prices for bulk food goods is unbeatable. (See cannery locations). However, even this venue has experienced the ongoing inflation witnessed throughout our economy. (I grab an extra inventory sheet and date it whenever we visit to keep track of prices). Here are some numbers:

  November, 2010  November, 2011
Nonfat dry milk (25 lbs) $35.40  $47.20
White rice (25 lbs) $8.45   $13.00
Hard red wheat (25 lbs) $6.35 $11.45
Quick oats (25 lbs) $8.15 $15.95
Potato flakes (25 lbs) $22.10 $33.30

The average price increase is 63%, with wheat and oats almost doubling in cost the past 12 months. The Mormon canneries still have the best bulk food prices I can find, but stock up now, as food prices continue to rise and the Mormon church may not always sell to non-LDS members.
Again, thanks for all you do; may God bless you, your family and your ministry. – E.H. on the Front Range, Colorado

JWR Replies: Those numbers are skewed from the inflation cited by the major agricultural indices such as the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). I should mention that I got an irate letter from one reader who suspected that the LDS canneries were “price gouging.” I really doubt that. More likely, the LDS canneries held back on price increases until after they had operated at a substantial loss for too long. The figures that E.H. cited reflect several years of food price inflation, not one year. But even still, it is clear that food costs have increased substantially in the past decade, as the buying power of the U.S. Dollar has declined. It is wise to stock up on food in quantity if you enough have safe, dry storage space. Bulk storage foods are a good hedge on inflation. And of course even without factoring inflation, the per unit cost is substantially less than buying foods in small consumer packages at a supermarket.