Consumer spending on milk and cookies : Enjoy some comforting FRED expenditures data

The FRED Blog has looked at consumer comforts before: the seasonal increases in electricity use for cozy heating and cooling and the prices of homemade foods. Today we devote our post to, arguably, the most comforting childhood tradition: milk and cookies.

The FRED graph above shows consumer expenditures on milk and cream (in white) and on bakery products (in chocolate chip cookie brown). We’ve adjusted the nominal value of those dollar figures by their corresponding consumer price item index to compare them over time. As it happens, households spend, on average, about twice as much on baked goods as they do on milk and cream.

We’ll also be looking for suitable data alternatives for our readers who avoid gluten and lactose. For now, try dunking your favorite baked good in your favorite rich, savory beverage while reading the FRED Blog. We hope both experiences bring you similar levels of comfort.

How this graph was created: Search for and select “Expenditures: Fresh Milk and Cream: All Consumer Units.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Edit Line 1” tab to customize the data by searching for and selecting “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Dairy and Related Products in U.S. City Average.” Next, create a custom formula to combine the series by typing in a/b*100 and clicking “Apply.” For the second line, repeat the same steps with the series “Expenditures: Bakery Products: All Consumer Units” and “Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers: Cereals and Bakery Products in U.S. City Average.” To change the line colors, use the choices in the “Format” tab.

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.