Prepare for Higher Food Prices

Even though the government says inflation is low, it doesn’t feel that way when you look at your grocery bill is. Raw foods have been rising, and those increases are predicted to rise 4% for this year, says the USDA.

The rising cost of raw commodities (corn, sugar) coupled with high oil prices have added to the cost of production, packaging and transportation. What can a consumer do minimize the sting of food inflation? One way is to avoid buying items that have become more expensive.

1) Chocolate

Cocoa prices are at their highest in 30 years due to conflict in Ivory Coast, the world’s top cocoa producer. The cost of sugar is also up 60 percent compared with last year. That’s why chocolate companies like Hershey’s announced price increases.

2) Coffee

Bad weather in Brazil and Colombia have driven up coffee prices almost 60%.

3) Meat

Meat counter prices and are up 7.6 percent since last year. The rising cost of animal feed plus increased demand for animal protein in China and India are behind the higher costs of meat.

4) Packaged foods

Major packed goods companies like Kellogg's, General Mills and Kraft are among the long list of companies announcing price increases. They will try to pass along their increased costs for raw materials and transportation.

There’s no place to hide from food inflation, but you can limit your exposure a bit. One way is to work harder to find discounts of store specials. Another is to start shopping at farmer’s market where you may be able to find deals on local vegetables and fruits that need to be sold before going out of condition.