C.P.I. for baked foods, cereals gains ground in 2013

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products again finished higher in 2013, rising 1%, which followed gains of 2.8% in 2012 and 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.

After two consecutive years in which every grain-based foods category was stronger, several categories gave back ground in 2013, including cereals and cereal products, flour and prepared flour mixes, breakfast cereal, and crackers, bread, and cracker products.

Meanwhile, the sharpest gain occurred in the index for fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, which rose 4.9%. Four other indexes posted gains of more than 2%.

The all food at home index, which increased 2.5% in 2012, rose 0.9% in 2013.

The price index for Bakery Products rose 1.7% in 2013, which compared with increases of 3.1% in 2012 and 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 1.9% during 2013 after rising 2.8% in 2012. The index rose 5.6% in 2011 and fell 1.7% in 2010. Within the segment, white bread rose for the third straight year, climbing 2% after increases of 2.8% in 2012 and 5.1% in 2011. This compared with a loss of 2% in 2010. Bread other than white increased 2.3% in 2013 after climbing 2.4% in 2012 and 7.1% in 2011. The index had declined 1.4% in 2010.

The index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies rose 1.8% after climbing 4% in 2012. The index was up 1.7% in 2011 and 0.4% in 2010.

The C.P.I. for other bakery products rose 1.2% in 2013. This compared with gains of 2.9% in 2012, 2.4% in 2011 and 0.5% in 2010. In the other bakery products segment, fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts rose 4.9%; crackers and other cracker products fell 0.7%; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers advanced 0.9%.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products decreased 0.1% in 2013 after rising 2.5% in 2012 and 4.4% in 2011. This compared with a decline of 1.9% in 2010. Flour and prepared mixes also moved lower, easing 0.1% in 2013 after impressive year-over-year gains of 5.3% in 2012 and 7.3% in 2011. Breakfast cereal decreased 0.2% after an increase of 2.1% in 2012. Rice, pasta and corn meal was flat after rising 2.3% in 2012 and 4.3% in 2011.

On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products was softer, falling 0.2% in December. The December index for Cereals and Bakery Products before seasonal adjustment was 269.3% of the 1982-84 average. For all food at home, the December index was 233.8, up 0.1% from November.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products in December was 231.1, down 0.4% from November. The index for products within this category included: flour and prepared mixes, 242.3, up 1.4% from November; breakfast cereal, 227.9, down 0.3% from the previous month; and rice, pasta and corn meal, 237.2, down 1.3% from November.

The price index for Bakery Products in December was 290.7, down 0.1% from November.

The December index for bread was 176.5, down 0.1% from November. Under this heading, the C.P.I. for white bread was 319.6, down 1% from November. For bread other than white, the index was 342.9 up 0.8% from November.

The price index for fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins in December was 171.1, up 0.1% from November. The December index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies was 273.8, down 1% from November. Under this segment, other price indexes included fresh cakes and cupcakes, 280.9, down 0.9% from November; and cookies, 267.8, down 0.9% from the previous month.

The C.P.I. for other bakery products in December was 259.9, up 0.7% from November. Under this heading, other price indexes in December included: fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, 290.1, up 0.6% from November; crackers and cracker products, 297.5, up 1% from November; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers, 266, up 1%.
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