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Flour Begins to Settle
bakemag.com, February 2012
by Staff

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According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor, the national average price of family flour in December was 51 cents per lb, down 0.7¢ from November but up 6.9¢ from December 2010. It was the third straight month of lower prices. The price declined in three regions (down 1.7¢ in the West, down 1¢ in the Northeast and down 0.9¢ in the South) and rose in one region (up 1.4¢ in the Midwest).

The average price paid for white pan bread rose while whole wheat bread fell in December. The national average retail price of white pan bread was 142¢, up 2.1¢ per pound from November and up 3.4¢ from December 2010.

In related statistics, the Consumer Price Index for baked foods and cereal products rose 0.1% in December after climbing 0.1% in November and 0.5% in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor. The index for all food at home, rose 0.3% after falling 0.3% in November.

Of the 18 items followed by Sosland Publishing’s Milling & Baking News, 11 posted month-over-month gains, while 7 finished lower.

The December index for cereals and bakery products before seasonal adjustment was 266% of the 1982-84 average, up 5.8% from a year ago. For all food at home,
the December index was 230, up 5.7% from December 2010.

The CPI for cereals and cereal products in December was 233.4, up 0.3% from November and up 6.7% from December 2010. The index for products within this category included: flour and prepared mixes, 243.1, up 0.4% from November and up 10.6% from the previous year; breakfast cereal, 229.3, up 0.7% from the previous month and up 6.1% from a year ago; and rice, pasta and corn meal, 242.2, down 0.5% from November but up 6.4% from December 2010.

The price index for bakery products in December was 283.3, up 0.1% from November and up 5.3% from December 2010.

The December index for bread was 172.6, up 0.8% from November and up 6.3% from December 2010. Under this heading, the CPI for white bread was 313.7, up 1.2% from November and up 5.5% from December 2010. For bread other than white, the index was 336.8, up 1.2% from November and up 8.6% from a year ago.

The price index for fresh biscuits, rolls and muffins in December was 167.9, down 0.1% from November but up 6% from December 2010. The December index for cakes, cupcakes and cookies was 265.6, down 0.3% from November but up 4.3% from December 2010. Under this segment, other price indexes included fresh cakes and cupcakes, 274.8, down 0.9% from November but up 5.5% from December 2010; and cookies, 256.9, up 0.5% from the previous month and up 3.2% from the previous year.

The CPI for other bakery products in December was 252.3, down 0.2% from November but up 5.1% from December 2010. Under this heading, other price indexes in December included: fresh sweet rolls, coffee cakes and donuts, 268.6, down 1.1% from November but up 5.8% from December 2010; crackers and cracker products, 292.4, down 0.5% from November but up 6.6% from December 2010; and frozen and refrigerated bakery products, pies, tarts and turnovers, 262.2, up 1.4% from November and up 4.2% from the previous year.

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