The Boxed Cake Index

Predicting recessions with consumer habits

You may have heard of the Big Mac Index — a model created by The Economist to compare Purchasing Power Parity between nations. By converting the pricing of a McDonald’s Big Mac in different countries to USD the model determines the relative purchasing power of the currency in that country. Although it may seem like a ridiculous method, it is actually quite an accurate economic tool.

Inspired by this model, I have come up with a way to accurately predict upcoming recessions. Introducing, the Boxed Cake Index.

The idea is simple: boxed cake is a cheap and easy way to improve the morale of a family, and thus consumers will purchase more of it as economic pain increases. This is not the case with other ‘comfort products’ like alcohol, because people are addicted to those and they’re depressants. Instead, boxed cake products are bought for the sole purpose of improving the moods of multiple people.

On second thought, this theory might be entirely wrong. Perhaps an increase in boxed cake purchasing indicates an economy that is doing well. Boxed cakes correlate to people celebrating, and they wouldn’t be celebrating if s**t was hitting the fan. Maybe I am extrapolating my own outlook toward boxed cake: that I’d only make and eat it in a desperate move to become happy (apart from a birthday party, of course, of which there are non these days). Still, I think there is value to be had in analyzing consumer purchase patterns of cake mix products. Knowing that social gatherings are banned, if people are increasing their cake purchasing what does that say about the looming recession?

Perhaps some are preparing for a full-on armageddon style judgement day during which they’re going to cling to good ol’ Betty Crocker and beg her to comfort them as the army initiates a coup on the White House and modern democracy crumbles. Perhaps it will be Super Moist cake that brings us inner peace and makes us forget to revolt while politicians profit on the pandemic stock market.

I digress.

Written by

Journalist, entrepreneur and student - Boston College, University of Otago. Buddhist. Expert adventurer and consultant for conducting business in Asia.

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