C.P.I. for baked foods, cereals finishes higher in 2014

by Eric Schroeder
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WASHINGTON — The Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products again finished higher in 2014, rising 0.2%, which followed gains of 1% in 2013, 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.

Most of the index moves occurred within a narrow range, with the steepest decline a 1.2% drop in flour and prepared flour mixes and the sharpest increase a 2.4% gain in the all food at home index. Overall, 12 of the 18 categories followed by Milling & Baking News finished higher for the year, while 6 finished lower.

The price index for Bakery Products rose 0.4% in 2014, which compared with increases of 1.7% in 2013, 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 fell 0.2% in 2014 after climbing 1.9% during 2013, 2.8% in 2012 and 5.6% in 2011. Within the segment, white bread fell for the first time since 2010, easing 0.6%. The index rose 2% in 2013, 2.8% in 2012 and 5.1% in 2011. Bread other than white also fell, decreasing 0.1% in 2014 after increasing 2.3% in 2013, 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 0.9% after climbing 1.8% in 2013 and 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 0.5% in 2014. This compared with gains of 1.2% in 2013, 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 0.1%; crackers and other cracker products increased 1.7%; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers fell 0.1%.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products increased 0.1% in 2014 after falling 0.1% in 2013. This compared with gains of 2.5% in 2012 and 4.4% in 2011. Flour and prepared mixes moved lower in 2014, easing 1.2% in 2014 after falling 0.1% in 2013. This followed impressive year-over-year gains of 5.3% in 2012 and 7.3% in 2011. Breakfast cereal increased 0.5% after a decrease of 0.2% in 2013; and rice, pasta and corn meal was down 0.5% after finishing flat in 2013.

On a monthly basis, the Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products was softer, falling 0.5% after finishing flat in 2013.

The December index for Cereals and Bakery Products before seasonal adjustment was 270.6% of the 1982-84 average. For all food at home, the December index was 242.5, up 0.4% from November.

The C.P.I. for Cereals and Cereal Products in December was 230.4, down 0.5% from November. The index for products within this category included: flour and prepared mixes, 237.7, down 0.6% from November; breakfast cereal, 230.8, down 0.1% from the previous month; and rice, pasta and corn meal, 232.2, down 1.1% from November.

The price index for Bakery Products in December was 293.4, up 0.4% from November.

The December index for bread was 178.5, up 1.4% from November. Under this heading, the C.P.I. for white bread was 322.5, up 1.4% from November. For bread other than white, the index was 345.5 up 1.6% from November.

The price index for fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins in December was 174.4, up 0.2% from November. The December index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies was 275.4, down 0.5% from November. Under this segment, other price indexes included fresh cakes and cupcakes, 285.1, up 0.1% from November; and cookies, 267.3, down 1% from the previous month.

The C.P.I. for other bakery products in December was 261, up 0.2% from November. Under this heading, other price indexes in December included: fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, 291.8, up 1.8% from November; crackers and cracker products, 300.6, up 0.3% from November; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers, 264.7 down 0.4%.
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