Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Gluten-Free Foods / Products Inflation

If it wasn't bad enough to get hit with massive and rapid inflation at the gas pump all the time, that same inflationary pressure is forcing its way into my daily gluten-free food budget too. I use Amazon.com to order various gluten-free grocery items on occasion, especially items I use a lot of (since most deals at Amazon on gluten-free food are on multi-packs of the product in question).

A mere couple weeks ago, I placed a couple items in my shopping cart as I prepared for my next order of GF grocery products, and today, when I logged in to amend my selection with additional items, I was greeted with the following dialog-box contents at the top of the page:
Important Messages
Please note that the price of Bob's Red Mill Whole Grain Teff, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4) has increased from $17.43 to $18.77 since you placed it in your Shopping Cart. Items in your cart will always reflect the most recent price displayed on their product detail pages.

Please note that the price of Mary's Gone Crackers, Caraway, 6.5-Ounce Boxes (Pack of 12) has increased from $34.40 to $36.86 since you placed it in your Shopping Cart. Items in your cart will always reflect the most recent price displayed on their product detail pages.
Although my first reaction was, "WOW, those prices sure increased in a hurry", it should have come with absolutely no surprise as I watch the Federal Reserve lowers interest rates (in an attempt to stave off further weakness in the housing sector) even though the threat of inflation, especially in energy and food, looms large.

Sadly, I can nearly guarantee there is more of this product inflation to come, whether you are shopping for Celiac-Safe foods for your gluten-free pantry, or just buying that "standard" household food items most Americans enjoy. If the run up in energy prices wasn't enough of a problem on its own (affecting production and transportation costs profoundly), to make matters worse, many of our grocery items are directly competing with the demands for alternative-fuel production (especially corn, but trust me, macroeconomics dictates that if the demand for corn pushes prices through the roof for that commodity, demand - and therefore price - for "substitute" or "alternative" products also rises; meaning, basically every cereal grain out there, gluten-free or not will end up costing more.)

The Gluten-Free Blog is not the place for me to get into a big discussion about politics, environment, economics, and the like, so I won't. But, in short, I really think we (as a country and world) need to really start looking at alternatives to consuming oil and alternatives to letting our driving habits force us to choose between converting our grains into fuel instead of food products. If farmers can make more producing grain for fuel, farmland in general will be diverted to such production, leading to cost increases in every other food product too. I don't see this all ending well if we don't change.

One positive thing I want to point out, is that Amazon's multi-packs of certain gluten-free groceries are still offered at a considerable discount compared to individual items at many retail stores. I expect that to remain the case, since it's quite likely that if Amazon ups their prices, retailers will be doing the same. As for inflation and my gluten-free recipe book, don't worry, I plan to hold the line on the price and not pass any cost-increases through to consumers -- everyone has been hit hard enough elsewhere!

1 comment:

Dianne said...

Given the current global economic climate, I guess we shouldnt be suprised at the increases! We are getting the gas price increases here, which are bound to increase prices across the board too!

Deep Joy for all, especially GF'ers who enjoy inflated prices anyway!