The Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumer prices rose by 2 percent from July 2013 to July 2014. That's the sort of information that makes people speculate about Fed policy and wage levels, but the consumer price index is made up of all sorts of datapoints about all sorts of things we buy.
And according to detailed CPI data, all of those prices are behaving in vastly different ways — some skyrocketing, some plummeting. While the cost of food has only jumped by 2.5 percent over that period, here are 7 items in your grocery cart whose prices have leapt far more than that since last year.
1. Beef (up by 10.4 percent). Drought has helped drive the price of grain higher, making it more expensive to feed cattle, driving the cost of your steaks higher.
2. Pork (10.9 percent). Pork prices have been sent higher in the last year not only by high demand but the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus that helped thin out swine herds. If it's any consolation, the CPI for bacon (more specifically, "bacon and related products") has fallen by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent over the last month, though it's still 6.7 percent higher than a year ago.
3. Fresh fish (8.8 percent). So the message by now seems to be that the universe doesn't want you to have any protein. But never fear. If you really need meat, the price of lamb has fallen by 6.9 percent over the last year, and poultry prices are only up by 2.7 percent.
4. Butter (16.5 percent). Not only is protein becoming a luxury item, so is
happiness butter. One big reason for this is surging incomes in emerging markets, as Bloomberg reports, which has helped push dairy and meat prices higher.
5. Eggs (9.2 percent). Put it together with the soaring butter prices, and suddenly baking a cake for your coworkers might require a raise first.
6. Citrus fruit (7.8 percent). The limepocalypse might be a distant memory by now, but citrus fruit prices are still higher than they were a year ago. (Still, lime prices seem to have settled down: average advertised prices are now $0.24 per lime, according to the USDA, up from $0.20 a year ago.)
7. Other fruit (7.6 percent). This is a category of fruit that leaves aside citrus fruit, apples, and bananas, and it is also on the rise. Meaning it may be time to ditch kumquats in favor of bananas (down 1.6 percent in the last year).