February 20th, 2014

Are Food Markets Really Failing?

One of the key demands in today’s divine intervention is that the government “act to investigate food markets that are failing.” Well, if you look at inflation-adjusted prices of corn, wheat and soybean over the last hundred years…

…it has actually been a hundred years of declining prices…

Via @csdrake

UPDATE: And food prices in real terms are still lower than they were in the 80s:



  1. 1
    Tooth fairy says:

    ‘Failing’ to make a profit then?

  2. 2
    C.O.Jones says:

    Let them eat krokodil.

  3. 3
    Shire Tory says:

    But they are staples, what about the traditional foods of the poor? Burgers, Takeaways, Salt & Sugar loaded things in packets and of course, Cola!

  4. 4

    I’ve just got back from Waitrose it was definitely still there.

  5. 5
    Skeleton bob says:

    Food markets have shown what an excellent system capitalism is. Just look at the way that the Communists mismanaged food markets in Russia and China where millions died of starvation and compare that to the choice, price and quality we get from supermarkets today. But that is not good enough for the loony left. We must all starve in the name of their flawed ideology.

  6. 6
    Diane Abbott says:

    A rice and peas chart would be better for me.

  7. 7
    Ethnic person in the woodpile says:

    …but but but they’ve doubled in price since 2005. Oh woes!

  8. 8
    Mitch says:

    The cost of the raw materials doesn’t necessarily indicate the shop price?

    There is also..erm..huge Profits?

  9. 9
    Tories ordered Not to Comment says:

  10. 10
    Blind_leading_the_blind says:

    Apart from the 100% recent increase to pay for Monsanto’s GM costs

  11. 11
    J.Dromey says:

    if only you were black A

  12. 12
    Ctesibius says:

    What a stupid comment.

  13. 13
    Ed Millibandwagon says:

    Itth an outrage, cotht of living cwithith!

  14. 14
    The Unholy Trinity that run Europe says:

  15. 15
    fruitcake says:

    Oh for an Uzi

  16. 16
    Robin says:

    Food prices have been rising in recent years due to the switch from feeding people to making biofuels, driven by EU and US policies. It has been estimated that around 1 million people a year are now dying from starvation as a direct result of policies to prevent the global warming that hasn’t happened for 17 years. Better the Churches got around to some joined-up thinking about cause and effect and were a little more sceptical of the global warming religion.

  17. 17
    M­a­­­­q­bo­­ul says:

    See the spike in the Seventies when Callaghan brought this country to its knees. Miners ridiculous pay awards fueled the rampant inflation then.

  18. 18
    Casual Observer 7 says:

    H’arman, D’romey and H’ewitt will not issue any apology as that would be admitting all sorts of liability.

    They perhaps should step down as they are seriously toxic for Labour now.

    The BBC has made a miscalculation by not reporting on this as they are now fully open for qualified charges of bias when the next Tory related story comes up and they go spaz with the coverage.

    The mind boggles at what is going to be in the MoS this weekend.

  19. 19
    Hice waife says:

    If prices are reportedly declining, can you please explain why my weekly shopping (of mainly the same items) keeps going skywards? Is somebody telling porkies round here? Ask anybody who does a weekly shop and you will probably hear the same story.

  20. 20
    The British media are cunts says:

    Daily Mail front page two days on the trot and even Guido doesn’t mention it.

  21. 21
    Dave says:

    Look, frau Merkel has got a bald headed man in her twat.

  22. 22
    C.O.Jones says:

    That was when the hayrabs got Opec to raise the price of oil in 73.

  23. 23
    Crash bang wallop says:

    Or a suicide bomber with a truck load of explosives!

  24. 24
    Naive one says:

    I thought the State Broadcaster was supposed to report the news, not politically censor it.

  25. 25
    The British media are cunts says:

    Funny as when the BBC/Guardian/Labour thought they had a “senior Tory from the Thatcher era” bang to rights, the Labour party didn’t shut up about it.

    You have to suspect that our ‘elite’ simply are all in it together. The fact Operation 0re was killed off as soon as the huge list of TV celebs, politicians, judges and plods appeared.

  26. 26
    JadedJean3 says:

    “Just look at the way that the Communists mismanaged food markets in Russia”

    That was down to Lysenkoism.

  27. 27
    Blind are we? says:

    Seen Elsewhere

    Harman, Dromey and Hewitt Need to Take This Seriously | Greenslade
    Police Chief Calls for Harman, Dromey and Hewitt to Apologise | Mail

  28. 28
    Dave from Witney says:

    We ought to have a “Royal Charter on Press Regulation” I’ll get on to Maria to set one up immediately

  29. 29
    The British media are cunts says:

    A free press? We have a major British newspaper running a headline story 2 days on the trot yet the rest of the media are simply trying to pretend this story does not exist. Even this blog either mods comments or ignores it.

    There is something disgusting going on in the political and media circles.

  30. 30
    All socialists are hypocrites says:

    and THIS is something new ??

  31. 31
    Speaker of truth says:

    Wow that’s some shoddy data analysis right there Guido. Its a hundred years of a downward trend. It is not “100 years of falling prices” as your own graph demonstrates increases since the middle of the last decade.

  32. 32
    The most amusing claim ever says:

    There are different standards in relation to “Tories” surely you know THAT ?

  33. 33
    Geraldo says:

    Ever heard of inflation? Or the word “adjusted”?

    And to think you’ve got the vote. God help us.

  34. 34
    A lesson from history says:

    Yeah but Stalin corrected the market…. he bumped off 1.2 million in his purges

  35. 35
    Lateral Thought says:

    Profits have been reduced by increased energy costs.

    There are several hidden hands in the above chart as well:

    i) The falling prices were caused by a combination of opportune population reductions (World War II, The Great Leap Forward etc.), massive increases in crop yield due to improvements in agricultural practice, and in the 70s / 80s a warming climate with good growing conditions.

    ii) Water. Clean fresh water is a declining resource globally, the Soy crop really represents Ch!na’s main import of water. Soy production requires massive amounts of water, the increased costs of which are beginning to be felt. As water continues to become scarce, this will translate to increase cost of food.

    The real problem now is that crop yields are naturally to be down, and the increase in energy costs for distribution can no longer be absorbed by reducing profit margins.

    It is primarily about reduced production, which is stimulating supply side inflation.

    A quick check of the baltic dry index, a benchmark for the cost of shipping food around the planet indicates that there has been a massive drop in demand. As people still need to eat and the population has not massively declined (but the rate of population increase is still declining as it has been over the past 30 years), one can only conclude that there is less demand for shipments by volume because there is less product to ship.

    That combined with increase in basic food prices clearly indicates shortage.

    Looks like a minor uptick at the end of the chart, but with a period of cooling likely to last a few more years yet, that uptick will likely continue, and do so fairly steeply.

  36. 36
    Disgusted says:

    The whole house of commons is a disgrace if they dont kick Harman and Dromey out how can you knowingly sit their as a human and parent and let two pedo supporters prance about. The utter bottom of humanity, the worse thing you can ever be and do. How could you ever look your child in the eye again after knowingly putting them and every other child in the country in potential danger? Who knowd how deep down the rabbit hole those twos connections with pedos goes. A plague on all their parties, they have made a mockery of the values they are meant to upheld if not one of them stands up and does the right thing and boot those sickos out

  37. 37
    Disgusted says:

    All pedos should be shot

  38. 38
    Doctor Bob says:

    Why, does rice make you go to pea very often?

  39. 39
    Mitch says:

    Try 25 million.

  40. 40
    Casual Observer 7 says:

    By charter they are meant to be impartial on such matters.

    They are politically censoring, but of more concern is that this does not appear to be government inspired censorship.

    The BBC appears to have become a independent political entity in its own right which is not only breaking its own royal charter, but is doing so whilst in receipt of public funds.

    As state broadcaster, a good question is:

    Which state is the BBC broadcasting for now ?

  41. 41
    Jeremiah says:

    Not quite as stupid as you think, the cost per unit eg per tonne of production has gone down with monocrop cultivation (not a very good idea) the cost of distribution has risen exponentially, the processing of the basic foodstuffs has gone up exponentially, heating, lighting, wages, when was the last time you personally actually went to a supermarket, noticed any rise in the price of cereals, cooked meats, bread etc over the last 4 years? The price on the supermarket shelves is what punters notice.

  42. 42
    rpi says:

    It’s because that chart shows inflation adjusted prices. If general inflation and that for these goods are all 4% then cash prices will go up by 4% a year but the real increase will zero. If your wages/income rise by less than inflation then your real purchasing power has gone down, I.e. you get less for your cash each year. This has been happening following the crash as mirage of borrowed wealth is now being paid for.

    Also, scale is everything, if you started that chart from 2000 for instance it would be upwards.

  43. 43
    Scallywag says:

    Apologists for p’aedophiles: How Labour Deputy Harriet Harman, her shadow minister husband and former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt were all linked to a group lobbying for the right to have sex with children.


  44. 44
    Jess The Dog says:

    Check your graph. From 2000 onwards, food prices have been rising.

    There’s a double whammy as well with the growth of “food deserts” – the big four retailers have been concentrating their supermarkets in larger car-accessible locations, out of town, with large areas for non-food goods. People without a car can’t get there and end up paying double the price for a can of soup in a corner shop. (Tesco Metro and Sainsburys Local also bump up their prices in their smaller outlets).

  45. 45
    Lateral Thought says:

    It is 100 years of falling prices in $’s. If one adjusts for £ the graph will look somewhat different.

    The last part of the graph ending 2010 is showing an uptick.

    The very poor harvests in the US of 2011, 2012 will have seen that upward trend continue.

    Food prices in the UK would have increased at a much faster rate after £ devalued following the credit crunch of 2008. That would primarily affect imported food.

    The increased cost of food in the UK is being caused by supply side inflation, which in turn is caused by shortage.

  46. 46
    Mine d'Boggles says:

    It certainly will.

  47. 47
    Lateral Thought says:

    The price increases also correlate with global temperatures remaining static (meaning no increases in crop yields) and falling (leading to reduced crop yields).

    Look to Solar output and increased cloud cover for what is causing the reduced temperature and sunlight that is causing this.

    Increases in the cost of natural gas also translate directly to increased fertilizer costs, which increases food costs.

    The uptick in the chart above demonstrates how government subsidies – such as the Common Agricultural Policy in Europe, and similar in the US can no longer contain price increases.

  48. 48
    Jeremiah says:

    M has forgotten that it is not on the Fawkes diatribe list or he was not even born then. Petrol 33p/gallon, would you like me to write it again M. OK the petrol 33p/gallon now do you understand, laughing boy Ted was PM then, disasters all came at once, Scargill saw his chance and went for it, market forces you understand, I had to work through the 3 day week where no electricity could be used in commercial premises working by candle light and no heating, one thing Ted did do he stopped ministers from swanning about in limousines and they had to go in a mini, they never forgave him for that.

  49. 49
    Axe The Telly Tax & Religion & Kill All Eco-loons says:

    It’s high time that vile Trades Union dinosaurs like McCluskey,Crow & Serwotka stood down in favour of women from all women shortlists.

    Or is it do as i say and not as i do from Labour’s paymasters!

  50. 50
    Jeremiah says:

    It was a good job for the UK that Hitler turned on Russia when he did, that was the beginning of the end for him, Yanks finally came into the war in 1942 that was because of the raid on Pearl Harbour by Japan.

  51. 51
    Will says:

    It would not surprise me if it involves the bbc and certain groups that someone did not take incriminating photographs or film it so they could if caught have a record of events as protection. If so i am sure that like the Channel Islands children’s home and other places a few individuals are keeping quite on this subject, especially as it was in the70’s

  52. 52
    Robin says:

    Wrong about no increase in crop yields due to there being no temperature increase; globally there has been a significant increase in both yields and vegetative growth due to higher CO2 levels. NASA data on the vegetative increase is 15-20%, coupled with plants extending their growing area into deserts as with higher CO2 they require less water for transpiration.

  53. 53
    Anonymous says:

    “today’s divine intervention”
    And the lord sayeth unto them, “Better think this thoroughly through, idiot children of mine. Divide the nations of the Earth in two, and feed GM (global monopoly, no statute of limitations on patent rights) to one half. But non-experimental foods to the other. That way if this all goes mutant six t*ts up, some at least may survive”.

  54. 54
    Common Porpoise says:

    Quite a lot of slapheads in that photo. Proof that listening to Barroso makes your hair fall out.

  55. 55
    Robin says:

    Current increases in global food prices are caused by government intervention in the markets with policies (EU and US) dictating that 10% of fuel must be BIO-FUEL. That is made from crops which would otherwise be sold as food, or grown on land that would otherwise be growing food. It has been estimated that around 1 million people are now starving to death each year as the value of crops as bio-fuel has made food too expensive for them. Just an unpublished cost of the global-warmist and Eco-loon religion.

  56. 56
    Hice waife says:

    Geraldo,you are a worthless waste of space cvnt – as is your opinion. When I was a bit younger, “inflation” was sort of matched by fairly regular wage increases to match. That does not seem to have happened recently – hence the gap in my purchasing power.

    Thanks to others for various explanations. I suppose I shall just have to live with my cash buying less as I grow older.

  57. 57
    Hi ! Drocarbons says:

    Points being missed all over the place here.
    Look up “ethanol” and “bio fuels” and see how much of the world’s food production was given over to producing “clean” and “green” fuels instead of stuff that people can eat.
    Also lookup Baroness Kramer and her idiotic pronouncements on the subject.

  58. 58
    Jabba Le Chat says:

    Errm…those are US prices and not for the UK.

    The spike you are looking at was reflecting the impact of the 1973 OPEC induced oil crisis and not Sunny Jim and Silly Billy fucking up the UK economy…

  59. 59
    FFS says:

    Price in cash terms has gone up because we are printing more cash but producing less food per capita.

    We are actually producing more food globally, but not at the rate that third world populations are rising.

  60. 60

    There are regular bus services to to the out of town supermarkets , the grubby muslim corner shops would have been out of business years ago if Blair had not introduced a restriction on the Sunday opening hours of the large supermarkets in order to protect them .
    The small branches of the supermarkets were opened to get around the restrictions which is based on square footage, maybe they charge a little more than the large branches but at least they provide an alternative to those of us who would under no circumstances patronise a muslim corner shop .

  61. 61
    Jack Ketch says:

    Tesco’s own brand diet cola is 17p per 2litres. “Real” coca-cola is $2.00!
    Branded pasta is 35p per 500g, a branded equivalent is £2.50.
    A single bell pepper is 80p, yet a kilo of bell pepper at a market stall is £1.
    “Meat” from Tesco or Sainsbury is carefully packaged. “value” mince is £5.60 per kg and diced beef (low grade) £8.90 per kilo. The local butcher provides gammon offcuts at £3.50 per kg and “pensioner packs” that provide six meat meals (a chicken, sausages, mincemeat and a small joint) for £10.
    I have spent some time on this and one can feed four people three decent meals with substantial variety for £4 per day, adding “extras” tea, coffee, sugar, jams etc. and desserts that will go up to £6 day. A take-away pizza from a main-line franchise for four costs £12-£17.
    The problem is that to eat inexpensively, one has to input the labour of cooking and preparation. A busy mum has no time for that between Hollyoaks, Loose Women and the Jeremy Kyle show.

  62. 62
    Ctesibius says:

    Jeremiah, I think you are probably onside in this argument but “cost of distribution … processing … heating, lighting, wages’ is not what I would call ‘Huge profits’.

    Cost and Profit are not the same.

  63. 63
    Jack Ketch says:

    Sorry. Qualification–that is £4 per head per day. Thus a family of four, with luxuries is £112 per week.

  64. 64
    Lola says:

    Yes, and pretty well all rises in prices are down to government failure. Excess taxation. Excess and mostly totally unecessary regulation, greenie nonsense, and the biggest failure of all – inflation – as in the unremitting and progressive destruction of the value of our money. It is not food prioes in the shops rising. It is the value of our money falling.

  65. 65
    FFS says:

    Or perhaps that we are looking at a generation of pro-EU politicians soon to be in retirement and replaced by a new generation of politicians that have a very different view of how the EU should be, given the experience we have had with the EU of today.

    We can but hope…..

  66. 66
    FFS says:

    They are going up because just about everybody is printing cash, so food is in shorter supply than money.

  67. 67
    a housewife says:

    There was a noticeable hike in food costs
    during the last few years of the previous
    Labour government.

  68. 68
    Lola says:

    Also the diversion of food production into fuel production – e.g. ethnalo crops. BTW it is not ‘supply side inflation’, it is ‘supply side price rises’. These price rises will send a signals that will spur innovation and substitution – if the market is left alone to function without divine or other ignorant intervention. We were not Divinely blessed with Free Will for nothing y’know.

  69. 69
    FFS says:

    Yep, well that’s what happenes in a boom/bust cycle. During a boom wages tend to rise ahead of inflation as employers compete for workers, during a bust the opposite happens.

    Put some money by for a rainy day in future. Don’t rely on NI because the government has spent it on something else.

  70. 70
    Lola says:

    No, that’d be a waste of only one life. Or rather it’d be a shame to waste one life on doing in so many useless lives. Can’t we arrange for a non-suicide bomber?

  71. 71
    FFS says:

    Creating an army of p@edos to attack the moral foundations of a capitalist society.

    It’s amazing what the Gramscian loony left got up to in the 70s with the aim of bringing about a Marxist revolution.

  72. 72
    Lola says:

    Correct. It is not food market failure it is money failure – and that is entirely down to failed goverments.

  73. 73
    FFS says:

    All part of their cunning Gramscian plan I feel.

    Imagine they have created an army of p@edos and a vast pool of abused children in care. How many people in public life got themselves wrapped up in that? How many were subsequently blackmailed to follow the Marxist cause?

    How many people in the Tory party, the police, the church, the civil service are dancing to a Marxist tune because Dromey, Hewitt and Harman have the dirt on them?

  74. 74
    Lola says:

    You are suffering from government failure with our money. They have destroyed the value of the £ and it now buys less. And because there is always a time lag between prices rising because of this inflation and your wages rising ditto, you get worse off.
    None of this is ‘market failure’ it is all government failure.

  75. 75
    Muzzie cornershop owner says:

    Actually we keep ourselves in business by selling booze and ciggies to white kiddies.

    Thank god they never introduced electronic ID cards or we’d be fucked!

  76. 76
    MB. says:

    So, despite all the moaning from Labour, food prices rose under the previous Labour government and have stayed fairly level since then.

  77. 77
    Dreary Steeples says:

    Cheaper food but at what price?. I produce beef and lamb, beef is now flat lining since before December. There are several reasons for this, Polish beef has flooded our market, the prepared meals have not made a comeback from the horse meat scandal, halal market has disappeared and households are using more chicken and pork.However,please note the chicken that we now consume are five weeks old at slaughter, but a farmer who produces chicken recently told me a lot of chickens were dying of heart attacks around 3 weeks old because of rapid forced growth. Society knows the price of every thing and the value of nothing.

  78. 78
    Anonymous says:

    block in progress. bye.

  79. 79
    censorship says:

    The BBC site has yet again failed to show
    the Daily Mail front page on it’s The Papers

  80. 80
    Morticia Reeves says:

    We never let facts get in the way of a rant.

  81. 81
    HoP Catering Dept says:

    Have you seen the price of Lobsters and Caviar. You are totally out of touch with the real world.

    I’ve had a word with Gideon, he’s had to divert some of the unlimited money he’s was going to use on mopping the floods to up the subsidy so we can keep our hard working parliamentarians fed.

  82. 82
    Hi ! Drocarbons says:

    And how much of that chicken comes from places like Thailand or Brazil ?

  83. 83
    Jeremiah says:

    Errm very good spot Jabba, it would be interesting to see how retail prices (avg) have risen over the same period. During the 70’s the Beeb one of those consumer programs and one of the weeky items was the cost of a weekly shopping basket, in the 80’s Maggie stromgly objected to it and it was dropped. Petrol I think was just over £2/gallon in 1973 it was 33p/gallon Fags about 30-40p a pact, beer was quite cheap certainly by comparison with today’s prices.

  84. 84
    Jeremiah says:

    Cocked it up again, should be 33p/gallon and in 1981 about £2/gallon

  85. 85
    Jeremiah says:

    They could always used processed old chip fat in diesels

  86. 86
    Jeremiah says:

    Yes inflation is one thing our governments have never got to grips with Maggie just decided to let things rip to show the plebs what happens when wages sky rocket. Governments have failed to regulate the things that they should have regulated and tried with varying success (mostly lack of) to those things they shouldn’t have tried to regulate

  87. 87
    Jeremiah says:

    Leave the peas for little Jonny Major.

  88. 88
    Jeremiah says:

    Errrm Jabba pointed out that it applied to the USA. Fawkes is very good at putting charts in that are nothing to do with this country

  89. 89
    Jeremiah says:

    Go for it girl, this lot shop at Harrods or don’t go around their local supermarket shopping, they leave it to her upstairs, as for Dave and Co they have lost it completely, one of their number said in effect, posh boys that don’t even know the price of a pint of milk.

  90. 90
    Jeremiah says:

    No, their offending appendages should be removed so that they can no longer carrying on oh I could have added one of those thingies inserted what give a an uncomfortable electric shock if they still try to do something.

  91. 91
    Jeremiah says:

    Errm that is a point just think the amount of CO2 generated in power stations and waste heat which could be fed into glasshouses growing all sorts of fruit and sub tropical vegetables, a whole secondary industry could be created around coal powered power stations plus nowadays the use of the new LED light system.

  92. 92
    Jeremiah says:

    I have heard that certain shops did deal in other things in addition to tobacco products

  93. 93
    Franswa says:

    Interesting that you disregard plots on a similar timescale wrt climate change…

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