World Food Price Index: WalletPop shops the globe


I was at the grocery store, and I was shocked. My family had been going through a lot of maple syrup (I've cut out sugar from our diet recently), and I was used to paying $8.99 for a big 750 ml container. Here it was only a few weeks later, and the Trader Joe's price had shot up to $13.99! It was far higher at the other grocery stores; I recorded a price of $18.49 at Safeway in Portland, Oregon.

I started wondering, what are prices for maple syrup like over the rest of the world? And how about eggs? In an environment where economists and political leaders are commiserating with us about the high cost of groceries, we at WalletPop felt it would be illuminating to track a basket of groceries worldwide. We'll give you an index price and revisit it weekly, with prices from a wide number of international cities. So next time you pick up a pound of pasta, you can feel good because you know it's far dearer in Taipei.

In order to calculate the World Food Price Index, we take the price (converted to USD and to a common weight or measure, where applicable) of each item and total the basket. Where items aren't available or a price hasn't been gathered, our index registers the average price of the other cities so each basket of groceries will "weigh" the same. Then we average the six cities to get an index price.

Our process isn't scientific, and our cities will change from week to week, so this shouldn't be used for advanced economic analysis. It should prove interesting, though; it turns out that maple syrup is slightly pricier in Canada. Who would have thought? And our weighted-average basket of groceries, our WalletPop World Food Price Index, is $69.84 this week. How does your town compare?