Real inflation is food cost inflation.

This is from Peter Grant, who is a daily read around here, and it comes with a couple of observations. People in NZ are either getting very thin or very fat. There is no one in the comfortable middle. Kea and I have been having a long discussion on this.

Observation one: in Central Otago, where we go for breaks, almost everyone is either building houses or retired. The tourism workers are slowly coming back as the borders open. People have got thinner. They are able to pay for food but not going out. The cost of food at a cafe has increased by about $10 for a lunch. We think this means people are cooking more and going out less, which means they are probably eating better. We know that it is easy to be ketovore at home but very difficult when out.

Observation two: in the poorer parts of town, people are fat. These people are on tight budgets, and eating as cheaply as possible, which is either whatever is on specail at the fast food places, or Cereal, Bread and Marmite.

The high carbohyrdate load is making people insulin resistant and have worse health. Eating well requires careful spending and when prices increase, there is a limit you can’t go below.

And when prices on rent and petrol go up, food prices go up at the same time that people have less money to spend.

The trouble is, official inflation figures don’t fully take into account any potential increase in food prices. They assume that if one food becomes too expensive, consumers will substitute another, cheaper food for it, and that therefore their food bills overall won’t be too badly affected. However, what happens when all foods become more expensive? Suddenly there’s no more “wiggle room”. Suddenly one’s budget takes severe strain, and one’s overall cost of living goes up substantially – but that still won’t be reflected in official government statistics, because the bureaucrats who calculate them go by their artificial price theories, not by reality on the street.
That means cost-of-living increases in entitlements, welfare, etc. (which are based on the official rate of inflation) simply won’t keep pace with food costs. In turn, that offers the potential for increased social unrest as people struggle to cope. It also makes a direct and immediate contribution to the crime rate, as poorer people turn to shoplifting and other crimes to make ends meet. That, in turn, can lead to food vendors and suppliers abandoning the areas in which crime increases, because it costs them too much money to be there; and that’s one way we get the infamous “food deserts”, often ascribed to racism, but in reality an economic necessity for vendors.
The advent of the Biden administration is also bad news for food prices, thanks to its support for the so-called “Green New Deal”. Among other things, this de-emphasizes domestic oil production in favor of the use of fuel additives such as ethanol, made from corn. That means farmers will sell their corn – and plant more in order to sell more – for the higher prices offered by fuel processors, rather than the lower prices obtainable from food suppliers. Hey presto! There’s less corn for us to eat, and to feed to cattle so that we have meat to eat, and to export to others who need to eat. (That’s one reason why eco-nazis keep demanding that we eat less meat. It means more corn and feed will be available to make “green” fuels.)

The real green fuel is deisel. You can make it from any oil whatsoever, so you don’t need to make it from something that feeds humans.

Ignore the official statistcs on inflation. Keep a record of your grocery bills. If they are increasing, there is inflaction. Because the official statiscis, in every place, at every time,a re gamed.

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6 months ago

People in other countries probably wouldn’t believe how cheap cook-at-home carbs are in the States (beans/rice are ~ $1/lb, in the smallest/most expensive packaging – you can get for cheaper in bulk). Likewise junk-meat from fast-food is cheap (You can buy a 12pc bucket of fried chicken for $13, which is about 2 chickens worth, or you can buy a roast chicken in most groc stores for $6).

Good meat has gone up quite a lot this year (even grain fed can be up to $7/lb for “normal” cuts), and if you live in a food desert, veg/fruit can be pricey (I live in America’s vegetable basket… I remember hugging some lettuce once when I came home from visiting a food desert in Ark. Egads, man – the best grocery store was WALMART). I can easily get most of my veg for less than $2/lb. Or why all the fruititarians live in Cali. 😉

So that’s one of the big reasons that you see the big/small disparity here in America. Poor people are fat, because vegetables can be hard to get where they live, and the gym is costly, and pleasure via carbs is EASY and jaw-droppingly inexpensive and available on every corner, and we consider a good portion size something you should skip a meal to be able to finish.

If that’s the direction you see NZ going, definitely don’t overlook “sugar makes you happy” as cause. Sugar is sooo cheap. So very very cheap – and HFCS (the cars can keep the corn, kthx) is cheaper yet, and terrible for you. And here, in everything… well, everything ready made that doesn’t come at a premium price. Which is why, I believe, you said you’d tried American bread and it “tasted weird”. Yeah. Well. It’s all got sugar in, and not just that teaspoon to help the yeast get bubbly. Except, again, the premium stuff…