Our friends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) just published their October 2008 data and it’s mixed news.

Overall, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was down 1 percent from September. Good for pocketbooks, but bad for the economy. One D word–‘deflation’–has economists fretting about another–‘depression.’

OK, OK, what about food? Looking at the specifics, we can see that food prices increased slightly (0.5%) from September to October. But they have swelled 6.3% since last year.

Cereals and grains were the second biggest riser frompotatoes. photo by Great Beyond (via Creative Commons) last year, as prices are up an average of 12.5% (fats and oils were up 18.3%). I’ve seen this lately, as I’m now paying $3.70 for my morning box of cardboard, i.e. Grape-Nuts.

The worst part is that some real staples are much more expensive than they were a year ago. In that span, the increases are staggering: beans–26%, potatoes–31% and rice–43%!

I’m curious: has the rising cost of food changed the way you cook or shop? And has it made you more careful to avoid wasting it? Or are you too depressed to bother?

Lest you think the BLS is completely stodgy, it published some fun Thanksgiving data, including a chart of frozen turkey prices from the last four years. For those grumbling about the cost of Thanksgiving dinner, at least turkey prices seem to be lowest at this season.

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