Food Shortage & Price Explosion Thread

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It's actually funny.

My old man, who was not French - he was German, growing up there until age 12 (and a harrowing escape) and then in the States - he absolutely LOVED France. He was, for one day, part of the liberation of Paris. His unit was hustled forward, they had more-important things to do than chase French girls.

He always wanted to return, and thirty years later, 1975, he did. He arranged a one-year international assignment in Paris - his employer was working with a French state-owned company putting up a petrochemical plant. He was to be the American advisor.

And he probably had the best time of his life. Twice a week he'd write 20-page letters home - that was when transatlantic phone calls were horrifically expensive - and describe all aspects of life. Well, most aspects. Everything from the French gendarmeries, who would be at the hotel every evening, recording the passports of foreign guests, to his delight at learning rudimentary French, and having conversations with shopkeepers, news boys, his hotel maids, people on the street.

They didn't mind that he spoke crude French. He was fluent in German, and many of them were...they were honored at his attempts, and they often politely corrected him in German or English.

Seems, they'd tired of the Ugly American, but when someone actually made the attempt to fit in, it delighted them.

But he'd also wander the markets and grocery superstores. And talk to the customers, not all of them, women. Ask them, politely, about how much this, or that, might be out of the budget. Or out of the average person's budget.

He was led to believe that the average working person would spend about 40-50 percent of income on food. It was that dear. There were plenty of cafes; including for lesser-income people (not so much "working people") but many couldn't really afford it, just enjoying a cup of coffee or glass of wine and the company.

So. We move ahead 50 years, and now the French can afford processed carbs and belly-wash, just like Ugly Americans.

And now things are getting tight, and they're not emotionally prepared to handle it.
 
Business Insider

Restaurant owner explains why he charges $16 for a BLT and why he thinks food prices won't get better​

  • Food inflation at restaurants is still hitting Americans hard.
  • For one restaurateur, the increasing costs of rent and labor are driving prices up.
  • Even if inflation comes down, the restaurateur said the damage is done and we're not going back.
Despite lower inflation, many Americans experience sticker shock when dining out. But one restaurateur warns that customers better get used to the high prices.

Brian Will, owner of Central City Tavern in the Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta, sells a BLT for $15.95. While that may sound steep for a simple sandwich, he told Business Insider a lot more goes into the price than just the cost of the ingredients and that lower inflation won't change that.

"The part people don't understand is that even if inflation comes down, the damage is already done," Will told Business Insider. "There is a misconception that if inflation drops from 8% to 5% to 3% that prices come down. They don't. Inflation is a compounding issue. The 8% increase is still there, as well as the 5% increase, and the 3% is added to it."

More:

 
Fortune

‘Greedflation’ caused more than half of last year’s inflation surge, study finds, as corporate profits remain at all-time highs​


We may be looking at the end of capitalism.” Those words, from the pen of the loquacious Albert Edwards of Societe Generale, shocked the Wall Street analyst set last April and set Alberts on his way to becoming a financial press favorite for his witty turns of apocalyptic phrase. He was commenting on the phenomenon of “greedflation,” an economic bugbear previously beloved of progressive economists, not quite venerable 160-year-old French investment banks.

But after falling from its blistering pace in 2022, consumer inflation has gotten stubbornly stuck in the 3% range—rising unexpectedly for the last two months even as wholesalers’ prices stay flat or fall. That is greedflation’s music, offering a clear bit of evidence that excessive profit-taking is happening above the raw cost of goods. And yet another progressive economic study, this time from the Groundwork Collaborative, sheds light on the problem, arguing that more than half of the consumer price increases in the middle of last year were due to excessive profits, according to the findings. Corporate profits, by the way, remain at all-time highs.

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Worried about grocery prices? The U.S. wastes 40% of the food it produces. In Canada in 2019, it was nearly 60%.​

Food is very political - as you would expect, with something you can’t live without. In a world where we talk about supply and demand, hunger is a demand we can’t ignore.

In current political discussions, the issue of food, and food prices touched on issues of inflation, poverty, seniors, jobs, investment, carbon taxes, climate change, population growth, agricultural and trade policy. The issues are real and serious, because of the real consequences of famine and hunger are death and harms than can last a lifetime.

Because it is a sensitive topic, today’s politicians can also abuse it by crying wolf, and threatening that a particular tax will raise food prices.

All of those arguments about prices suddenly seem pretty hard to square with the absolutely unbelievable amount of food waste in the U.S. and Canada.

In June 2015, the PBS Newshour ran an item about the level of food waste in the U.S, which was an astonishing 40%. In one example, perfectly good food - fresh organic broccoli that had not yet left the farm it was grown on - was going straight to landfill by the truckload because prices had changed.

Full article:

 

Biden planning to hit food ‘shrinkflation,’ corporate greed in SOTU​

Food inflation is still a major drag on voter approval of the Biden economy ahead of November.

02/23/2024

President Joe Biden is weighing how hard to hammer big food companies over painfully high grocery prices in his upcoming State of the Union Address. But some some aides remain wary of focusing too much on food inflation, given how little power the president has to singlehandedly force down prices.

Biden embraced the concept of “shrinkflation” in a Super Bowl message targeting major snack food corporations — as the president framed it, there are now “fewer chips” in your bag, while companies are “still charging you just as much.”

And the White House has been aggressively testing out the messaging on the airwaves and in internal polling ahead of Biden’s speech, according to two White House officials familiar with the matter, who were not authorized to speak on the issue and were granted anonymity to discuss internal conversations. Recent polling circulated within the White House has been favorable to Biden’s push to blast what he’s described on the campaign trail as “corporate greed” driving higher prices across a range of sectors.

The most recent drafts of Biden’s State of the Union address have included a reference to shrinkflation as part of a broader segment on administration efforts to pressure companies to lower costs across the board, a third White House official said, though the speech is not yet finalized and could still change.

“It’s about framing this for the American people,” said the official, who was granted anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. Biden’s open frustration with tactics like shrinkflation, the official added, “speaks to what they feel in a way that’s useful for us both in terms of messaging and making sure they understand that the president sees what’s going on.”

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Paying more at the grocery store for less? Sen. Bob Casey takes aim at 'shrinkflation'​

WASHINGTON — President Biden looked decidedly peeved in his Super Bowl ad earlier this month.

"I've had enough of what they call shrinkflation," he said during the commercial. "It's a rip-off."

Rising prices are a top concern among voters heading into the 2024 presidential election and many of them blame Biden for inflation. But with price increases slowing, some consumer advocates and lawmakers are joining the president and focusing their ire on a new target: shrinkflation. It's the practice of reducing the size of consumer goods while charging the same price, fattening the manufacturer's profits.

"Some companies are trying to pull a fast one by shrinking the products little by little and hoping you won't notice," Biden added. "... I'm calling on companies to put a stop to this."

Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., is set to introduce a bill Wednesday to fight shrinkflation of household consumer goods that American families routinely purchase like cereals, chips, detergents, cookies and toilet paper.

The bill faces an uphill battle in Congress because of Republican opposition. But the proposal underscores that while inflation has eased since peaking in June 2022, Democratic lawmakers continue to blame big companies for intensifying price run-ups by excessively raising prices above their wholesale costs, or providing less product, to pad their profits.

More:

 
Bob Casey always taking a strong stance on the tough issues says: "High prices are bad".
Can't get more courageous than that.
Meanwhile...
Patrick Casey, the senator's brother, is a lobbyist who has reported lobbying the U.S. Senate on a number of issues.
His brother in law is also a lobbyist which has raised conflict of interest concerns with the senator's actions benefiting entities who hire his relatives to lobby.
His long-time confidante Vanessa DeSalvo Getz joined his relatives as a lobbyist in 2007
Totally a stand up guy. Nothing to see there.
 
Patrick Casey, the senator's brother, is a lobbyist who has reported lobbying the U.S. Senate on a number of issues.
His brother in law is also a lobbyist which has raised conflict of interest concerns with the senator's actions benefiting entities who hire his relatives to lobby.
His long-time confidante Vanessa DeSalvo Getz joined his relatives as a lobbyist in 2007

More:

  1. Oprysko, Caitlin (February 22, 2023). "Bob Casey's brother registers to lobby". POLITICO. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  2. ^ Oprysko, Caitlin (February 22, 2023). "Bob Casey's brother registers to lobby". POLITICO. Retrieved August 10, 2023.
  3. ^ Shepherd, Todd (October 31, 2023). "Another conflict of interest between Senator Casey and his relatives". Broad + Liberty. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
  4. ^ Lieberman, Brett (January 19, 2007). "Former top Casey aide has a new job…". pennlive. Retrieved January 12, 2024.
 
Bob Casey always taking a strong stance on the tough issues says: "High prices are bad".
Can't get more courageous than that.
Meanwhile...
Patrick Casey, the senator's brother, is a lobbyist who has reported lobbying the U.S. Senate on a number of issues.
His brother in law is also a lobbyist which has raised conflict of interest concerns with the senator's actions benefiting entities who hire his relatives to lobby.
His long-time confidante Vanessa DeSalvo Getz joined his relatives as a lobbyist in 2007
Totally a stand up guy. Nothing to see there.
These Congress-cretins have NO CLUE about economics or the true process of debasing currency by money-printing. What it looks like, and what happens.

I used to think Modern Monetary Theory was a simpleton hustle, to pacify the sheeple as they get looted through devaluation of their savings. Nope, it appears that most of these solons inside the Beltway, actually BELIEVE it.

Which means no correction or relief is forthcoming - short of complete collapse. Which is imminent - we have all the elements; foreign hostiles controlling government, a 30-plus-million invasion force, a demoralized public...
 
Man in the street stuff in this one.

Why many Americans feel unhappy about the economy despite indicators of improvement​

Mar 8, 2024

Friday’s latest jobs report is proof again of a labor market that has been resilient and often stronger than expected. But according to numerous polls, many Americans don’t feel the economy is strong overall or helping them or their families. Economics correspondent Paul Solman reports on what’s causing the disconnect.


7:48
 

Food inflation: The math doesn’t add up without factoring in corporate power​

Large farmers’ protests broke out in at least 65 countries over the past year. From India to Kenya through Colombia and France, desperation has hit a breaking point. Farmers warn that without better prices and more protection, their future is at risk. Peasant movements like La Via Campesina, for over three decades now, have denounced the World Trade Organisation and the growing number of bilateral free trade agreements for destroying their livelihoods.

However, these protests unfold against the backdrop of record-high global food prices. The prices spiked first during the pandemic and then again at the start of the war in Ukraine hitting an all-time high in 2022. Food prices have been rising faster than other products: if the global general consumer price index (CPI) doubled between 2021 and 2022, the food CPI inflation almost tripled. According to the World Food Organisation (FAO) food price index, even if international prices have moderated in 2023, they are still higher than in 2019 (see Graph 1). And all indications are that this is a crisis of prices, and not a food shortage at the global level. For the past 20 years, world grain production has exceeded available stocks.

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Americans Frustrated by 'Trickflation' as Brands Employ Deceptive Tactics Amid Rising Costs​

Brands relying on deceptive tactics is not news but it's increasingly becoming bothersome for Americans who are currently grappling with the rising cost of living amid inflation and growing credit card debt. A Reddit user recently took to the social media platform to highlight how brands use opaque tactics to charge more from consumers, coining the deceptive technique "trickflation."

The post uploaded on the subreddit r/mildlyinfuriating back in March by u/inasimplerhyme included a photo featuring two cans of Coco-Cola containing the same amount of drink despite looking very different.

Under the cans, the Reddit user wrote that the original can which was shorter cost $1.05 while the new one cost $2.37 despite both the cans containing the same amount of Coke. Many people then took to the comment section and pointed out that other brands were using the same tactics to attract more customers by giving them the idea that their product is the most value for money. "Colgate tubes always feel full and plump when new. About 1/4 of the way in, you hit this air pocket bubble and you’re gonna squeeze the tube and feel it deflate and deflate and at the end of that, you’re now holding a much flatter tube," writes dbx99.

More:

 
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France orders retailers to display shrinkflation​

PARIS (Reuters) - French retailers will have to notify shoppers when products have been reduced in size without a corresponding cut in prices in an effort to tackle so-called shrinkflation, the finance ministry said on Friday.

Shrinkflation has become a headache for consumers and governments alike as households have struggled to cope with dwindling purchasing power in the face of surging inflation in recent years.

From July, French retailers will have to display for two months when food and other common consumer goods products like detergent have been downsized in a way that causes the unit price to go up, the ministry said.

"Shrinkflation is a rip-off, we're putting an end to it. I want to rebuild consumers' confidence and confidence goes hand in hand with transparency," Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said in a statement.

Food prices became a major political issue in France last year after food inflation hit a record 16% following annual price negotiations between suppliers and retailers.

In reaction, the government passed a law to bring forward negotiations for this year and put pressure on companies to limit price hikes.

More:

 
When cost or diesel went from $3 to $5 that is when it began.
 
...
Bloomberg obtained the letter Chief Restaurant Officer Scott Boatwright sent employees last week. He told them:

"Due to its sustained strong sales we need your help to keep up with our guests' demand for this popular protein option."

Boatwright told store managers and hot-side and cold-side kitchen employees not to order chicken or chicken al pastor with their free or discounted employee meals. Even white-collar Chipotle workers were told not to order chicken.

The message read, "Let's Conserve Our Fan-Favorite Chicken." Execs did not give a timeline for boosting the chicken supply. The letter aimed to "preserve our supply of Adobo Chicken for our guests."

Chief Corporate Affairs and Food Safety Officer Laurie Schalow told Bloomberg in an emailed statement:
"Due to the high demand for chicken in our restaurants and sustained success of our limited-time offer chicken al pastor, we temporarily asked all of our employees at corporate and in-restaurants to select another protein option for their meals to preserve our supply."
...


First I've heard about any potential chicken supply shortage.
 

Why Fast Food Has Gotten So Expensive​

May 5, 2024 #30 on Trending

Prices at limited-service restaurants including Wendy's, Taco Bell, Chick-fil-A and Chipotle have increased more over the past decade than both full-service restaurants and overall inflation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experts say rising labor costs are the main culprit. McDonald's underwhelming first-quarter 2024 earnings results are one example of a fast-food giant feeling the repercussions of its soaring prices. Watch the video to learn more.


7:59

Chapters:
0:00 Introduction
4:30 Rising costs
6:05 Looking ahead

 
...
First I've heard about any potential chicken supply shortage.
Went shopping yesterday and noticed the price for bone in chicken thighs at my local Costco went up ~20% (from $1.49/lb to $1.79/lb). Chicken legs were still $0.99/lb though.
 

'I had to downgrade my life' - US workers in debt to buy groceries​

Stacey Ellis, a lifelong Democrat from Pennsylvania, should be the kind of voter that US President Joe Biden can count on.

But after four years of rising prices, her support has worn thin – and every time she shops at the supermarket, she is reminded how things have changed for the worse.

Ms Ellis works full-time as a nurse’s assistant and has a second part-time job.

But she needs to economize. She has switched stores, cut out brand-name items like Dove soap and Stroehmann bread, and all but said goodbye to her Favorite Chick-fil-A sandwich.

Still, Ms Ellis has sometimes turned to risky payday loans (short-term borrowing with high interest rates) as she grapples with grocery prices that have surged 25% since Mr Biden entered office in January 2021.

"Prior to inflation," she says, "I didn't have any debt, I didn't have any credit cards, never applied for like a payday loan or any of those things. But since inflation, I needed to do all those things....I’ve had to downgrade my life completely."

The leap in grocery prices has outpaced the historic 20% rise in living costs that followed the pandemic, squeezing households around the country and fueling widespread economic and political discontent.

More:

 
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