MCGA- New Consumer Price Index data shows food prices continue
Corn, energy costs show dramatic fall
Despite plummeting energy and grain prices, the price of food continues to rise, making Christmas dinner more expensive for Missouri families this year.
According to data released Dec. 16 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices ticked up .2 percent last month and are up 6 percent from last year. At the same time, energy costs fell 17 percent and transportation expenses dropped 10 percent in November. Even with the increase in food prices, the overall Consumer Price Index decreased 1.7 percent in November.
This news comes at the same time large food companies are enjoying record profits and, through their trade organization, the Grocery Manufacturers Association, are trying to blame ethanol for rising food costs. Their argument centered on the premise that biofuels production increased the demand and cost of corn, which forced food producers to raise prices for consumers.
Since GMA's attacks on ethanol began, corn prices have plummeted by over 50 percent. Likewise, gas prices have fallen 47 percent since July.
"Once again, today's Consumer Price Index showed a record plunge in prices for consumers on everything except food. Astoundingly, despite lows for everything else, large food manufacturers actually increased their prices and continue to profit, said Greg Breukelman, a spokesperson for Growth Energy, a new national, pro-ethanol organization that has made responding to the food versus fuel myth a top priority. "It's time Big Food stops acting like the Grinch and lowers their prices."
Growth Energy launched a countdown clock last month on its website www.growthenergy.org to track the time elapsed since the group called on GMA and its members to lower prices for consumers at the grocery store in line with the drop in the cost of corn.
"Farmers in Missouri have a proud tradition of growing corn to both feed our families and fuel our vehicles," said Mike Geske, Missouri Corn Growers Association president and farmer from Matthews, Mo. "Over the last six months, the price of corn has dropped by more than 50 percent, yet food prices continue to climb. It is clear that ethanol production has had very little effect on grocery bills. These record food prices are being caused by something other than corn prices and the new CPI data proves it."
"We haven't seen this drastic of an increase in food prices in 20 years. Simultaneously, corn, energy and transportation costs are all down," said Becky Frankenbach, director of communications with MCGA. "It's time to work together to create good jobs, protect our environment and increase our energy security and let the food and fuel myth finally die."
The GMA has yet to respond to Growth Energy's call to lower prices.