Hold on to your wallet

Consumers paid as much as 36 percent more in 2007 than they did in 2006 throughout the U.S. for common kitchen staples, according to the Department of Labor’s CPI index as of Dec. 31, 2007 (vs. December 2006). White Bread per pound rose from $1.14 to $1.28, an increase of 12.8 percent. Fresh fortified whole milk jumped from $3.00 a gallon to $3.87, an increase of 28.8 percent. A dozen eggs (Grade A, Large) increased from $1.54 to $2.10, up a whopping 36 percent. All-purpose flour went 32 cents per pound to 40 cents, increasing 25.2 percent. Peanut butter (Creamy, per pound) rose less dramatically from $1.72 to $1.88, up 9.4 percent and still a bargain. So too was American processed cheese per pound, which rose from $3.61 to $3.91, an 8.3 percent uptick. Red Delicious apples increased 9.2 percent from $1.03 to $1.12. Bananas were still a bargain at 53 cents a pound, compared to 50 cents, an increase of only 5.2 percent. Broccoli headed up from $1.46 a pound to $1.66, an increase of 13.4 percent. Iceberg lettuce went from 85 cents a pound to 90 cents, up 5.9 percent, sweet peppers went from $1.89 a pound to $2.19, but tomatoes (field grown) skyrocketed 31 percent from $1.64 to $2.15. Dramatically higher meat and poultry prices hadn’t registered at the end of 2007, but are all too apparent to consumers this year. Sliced bacon increased from $3.46 to $3.69 per pound, up 6.7 percent. Ground chuck (100% beef) was more than affordable going from $2.61 to $2.70 per pound, up 3.7 percent and fresh whole chicken rose from $1.06 to $1.17, an increase of 10.3 percent. Snacks also were more expensive in 2007. Cola rose 12.4 percent from $1.14 to $1.28 per 2 liters and chips were up 7 percent from $3.41 to $3.65, an increase of 7 percent for a 16-ounce bag. And if you needed to start your day with coffee, you paid a whopping 18.4 percent per pound more than you did in 2006.