Help the blogger

So we know food costs are rising.  And of course, it's not just for consumers, as the Wall Street Journalpoints out:

Sara Lee Corp. is reformulating some of its regional bread brands with cheaper, lower-protein wheat. General Mills
Inc. has reduced the number of Hamburger Helper varieties to about 40
from 75 and has cut the number of pasta shapes in the product across
the board. Campbell Soup
Co. is paring the number of ingredients in its soups by an undisclosed
amount, ranging from meats and vegetables to flavors and spices.

Still, prices for "packaged foods" continue to rise.  Which brings up something really perplexing:

Lehman Brothers analyst Andrew Lazar, citing data from market research
firm ACNielsen showing a sales-growth slowdown among large
packaged-foods companies, suggests higher prices may be turning off
shoppers. According to ACNielsen, which tracks sales of food at
supermarkets other than Wal-Mart, average sales growth among many of
the large packaged-food companies slowed to 1.1% in the four weeks
ended Feb. 23, compared with 2% growth for the rest of the last 12

The question I throw out for your consideration in the comments today:  If people are buying less of the packaged processed junk that delivers the most calories per dollar (that's a fact, it's been documented in research), what are they doing instead?  Obviously they're not buying more lean meats and fresh produce.  The woman in Massachusetts who says rising gas prices mean her family is eating "more pasta and less meat" doesn't fully answer the question.  So what is it?

The Daily Reckoning