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Admission Prices on the Rise for the Breakfast Club
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Ever heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day? It's only sacrosanct because it's so damn good. Dinner is just as important as breakfast if you are hungry, but nothing gets a day started out right better than a short stack (or French Toast, my fave), an ice-cold glass of O.J., and bacon, bacon, bacon. Just look at that picture and tell me you aren't drooling yet. Enjoy while you can, because this story from the Associated Press is the bearer of bad news — you will have to bring home more bacon to buy more bacon

Breakfast is getting ready to cost more everywhere. Everything from coffee to bacon is going up because of droughts in heavy farming areas and lack of "supply" on U.S. pig farms. Meats, eggs, and even fish are leading to "the biggest increase in U.S. food prices" in close to three years. In fact, an index that tracks those foods tells us prices 1.2 percent in February and have climbed four percent over the last 12 months.  

Can you imagine your favorite breakfast diner cutting back on a plate of awesome because of this shortage? Of course not. However, that's happening. Take the source of said awesome in that picture. This is an average breakfast at a Dallas landmark called Norma's Cafe. And "average" means you gain three pounds by inhaling that plate of greatness. While Norma's Cafe Director of Operations Bill Ziegler tells me that diners like Norma's Cafe are "investigating menu engineering and using pork tenderloin to hold prices down as long as possible," not many breakfast establishments have the good fortune (or insight) to do that. Prices go up at the farm, you will see it on the table. And that spells bad PR for like-minded restaurants and breakfast connoisseurs  everywhere. 

"You should expect to see very high prices for your ground beef, your other meat cuts, all the pork cuts will be higher this year ... it's become a hysterical market," Donnie Smith, CEO of Tyson Foods, said in an interview with CNBC (as quoted in this AP story).

And for all of you frou-frou folk who gallivant past a joint like Norma's Cafe, and straight to Starbucks, your pocket is about to get it as well. The AP story reads that coffee futures have surged 57 percent this year and this month rose above $2 a pound for the first time in two years. I know, right? Brazil went through a California-like drought this past year, which is forcing analysts to estimate the crop in Brazil will shrink by 20 percent. 

"Whether it's by the can or the bag, consumers should probably expect to pay 50 cents per pound more, fairly soon," says Dan Cox, president of Coffee Analysts. "Shoppers should be prepared to pay more at grocery stores, if the current trend continues for more than a month." 

The next time you are in the grocery store looking for bargains, trying to cut back, and clipping those coupons, remember that it's possible your local breakfast establishment may be in the cart right next to you thinking the same thing. "Sigh. I guess I'll have that breakfast with a side order of sticker shock, please." You've been warned, folks. Pour a little liquor on the curb for bacon. 

   

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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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