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Consumers have a beef with Fed over inflation

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Spencer Jakab
Financial Times
March 26, 2011

Food riots, deposed Middle Eastern despots and now this? Last week, a Texas man brandishing an assault rifle was involved in a three-hour shoot-out with police and had to be subdued with tear gas after ordering seven Beefy Crunch Burritos at a Taco Bell drive-through and being informed that their price had risen from 99 cents to $1.49.

Late night comedians and serious pundits alike had a field day with the story, opining on issues like fast-food culture, obesity (the seven burritos contain 3,600 calories, double the recommended daily intake) and gun control.

With his petty gripe, the gunman, Ricardo Jones, is no Muhammad al Bouazizi, the self-immolating Tunisian fruit seller who inspired millions across the region to throw off the yoke of tyranny, but 50 per cent is 50 per cent in San’a or San Antonio. Food inflation is a global phenomenon.

Taco Bell may well not be the villain here. It was recently alleged in a class-action lawsuit that only 35 per cent of what the fast-food chain describes as “beef” meets the strict technical definition (meat from a cow). The remaining 65 per cent is claimed to be made from fillers such as potassium lactate, modified corn starch, malto-dextrin and autolyzed yeast extract. Taco Bell has said it vigorously disputes the allegations made about its food – but if the class action claims were proved to be true, it could be seen as an ingenious attempt to hold the line on meat price rises. However, it is not only the price of meat that is rising alas, but also fuel, flour, vegetables and even autolyzed yeast extract.

Full article here

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This article was posted: Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 3:13 am





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