C.P.I. for baked foods, cereals finishes strong in 2012

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products again finished higher in 2012, rising 2.8%, which followed a gain of 3.9% in 2011. The index fell 0.8% in 2010, but previously had scored gains of 4.4%, 10.2% and 3.2% in 2007, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

For the second consecutive year, every grain-based foods category again was stronger.

The all food at home index, which increased 4.8% in 2011, rose 2.5% in 2012. It marked the second sharpest gain in the past four years.

Within the Cereal and Bakery Products category, every sub-category posted an increase of greater than 2% during 2012. For the second consecutive year, the sharpest gain was scored in the flour and prepared flour mixes sub-category, which rose 5.3% after climbing 7.3% in 2011. Several categories, including cakes, cupcakes and cookies; cookies; fresh sweet rolls, coffeecakes and donuts, each rose more than 4%.

The price index for Bakery Products rose 3.1% in 2012, which compared with an increase of 3.7% in 2011 and a loss of 0.4% in 2010. Two segments within this category — bread and fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins — were introduced in 1998 with a base of December 1997. All other products are based on a 1982-84 average.

In the bread segment, the index climbed 2.8% during 2012 after rising 5.6% in 2011. The index fell 1.7% in 2010. Within the segment, white bread, which rose 5.1% in 2011, increased 2.8%. This compared with a loss of 2% in 2010. Bread other than white increased 2.4% after soaring 7.1% in 2011. The index had declined 1.4% in 2010.

The index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies rose 4% in 2011 after climbing 1.7% in 2011 and 0.4% in 2010.

The C.P.I. for other bakery products rose 2.9% in 2012. This compared with gains of 2.4% in 2011 and 0.5% in 2010. In the other bakery products segment, fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts rose 4.7%; crackers and other cracker products rose 3.1%; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers advanced 2.1%.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products increased 2.5% in 2012 after rising 4.4% in 2011. This compared with a decline of 1.9% in 2010. Flour and prepared mixes again moved sharply higher, following up a 7.3% increase in 2011 with a 5.3% gain in 2012. The index fell 3.4% in 2010. Breakfast cereal increased 2.1% after an increase of 3.8% in 2011; and rice, pasta and corn meal increased 2.3% after rising 4.3% in 2011.

On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products showed strength, finishing up 0.1% in December. The December index for Cereals and Bakery Products before seasonal adjustment was 268.1% of the 1982-84 average. For all food at home, the December index was 232.9, up 0.3% from November.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products in December was 231.8, down 0.1% from November. The index for products within this category included: flour and prepared mixes, 248.7, up 1.6% from November; breakfast cereal, 227.4, down 0.7% from the previous month; and rice, pasta and corn meal, 238.6, up 0.8% from November.

The price index for Bakery Products in December was 288.1, up 0.2% from November.

The December index for bread was 175.2, up 0.8% from November. Under this heading, the C.P.I. for white bread was 320.9, up 1.2% from November. For bread other than white, the index was 336.2 up 0.7% from November.

The price index for fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins in December was 170.2, up 0.9% from November. The December index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies was 269.1, down 0.8% from November. Under this segment, other price indexes included fresh cakes and cupcakes, 278.8, down 0.5% from November; and cookies, 261.4, down 1.2% from the previous month.

The C.P.I. for other bakery products in December was 258.2, unchanged from November. Under this heading, other price indexes in December included: fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, 283.2, up 0.8% from November; crackers and cracker products, 296.5, up 0.7% from November; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers, 263.1, down 2.1%.
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