U.S. food prices are on the rise, raising a sensitive question: When the cost of a hamburger patty soars, does it count as inflation?
It does to everyone who eats and especially poorer Americans, whose food costs absorb a larger portion of their income. But central bankers take a more nuanced view. They sometimes look past food-price increases that appear temporary or isolated while trying to control broad and long-term inflation trends, not blips that might soon reverse.
The Federal Reserve faces an especially important challenge now as it mulls the long-standing dilemma of what to make of the price of a pork chop.