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Sticker Shock: USDA Says Food Prices To Skyrocket

food prices soaring

Image source: DimeOfFruitFarms

Expect to pay more money for less food when you go to the grocery store this summer.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is predicting that prices of some foods will increase by 10 to 15 percent because of the ongoing drought in states like California.

“The food-at-home CPI has already increased more in the first four months of 2014 than it did in all of 2013,”a USDA press release noted. CPI refers to the consumer price index which is the official measure of food costs.

The impact on the nation’s food supply by the mega-drought in California is only made worse by droughts in Texas and Oklahoma.

Expect Sticker Shock 

The data collected by the USDA indicates that prices for a wide variety of foods are increasing. Food prices were flat last year, largely because retailers like Walmart and Kroger were able to keep prices down.

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Some of the increased costs noted by the USDA include:

  • Beef and veal prices increased by 10 percent between April 2013 and April 2014. Beef and veal prices will rise another 5.5 to 6.5 percent in 2014, the USDA predicted.
  • Pork prices increased by 3.2 percent in April, the biggest increase since 1996. Pork prices were up 9.4 percent between April 2013 and April 2014. The main reason for the increase was Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus, or PDEV, a mysterious disease that has been killing large numbers of hogs in recent months, as Off The Grid News reported. Pork prices could rise another 3 to 4 percent in 2014, the USDA predicted
  • Prices for all meats will rise by 3.5 to 4.5 percent through the end of 2014.
  • Prices for meats and poultry products such as chicken and turkey will rise 3 to 4 percent during 2014.
  • Egg prices rose by 9 percent between April 2013 and April 2014, and egg prices will rise another 5 to 6 percent in 2014.
  • Prices for fresh fruit rose by 7.8 percent between April 2013 and April 2014.
  • Citrus fruit prices increased by 21.3 percent between April 2013 and April 2014. The USDA blamed this rise on a winter freeze in California which killed large amounts of citrus.
  • Prices for dairy products rose by 2.8 percent between April 2013 and April 2014.
  • Retail food prices rose by 2.3 percent in April 2014.
  • Fish and seafood prices rose by 4.2 percent between April 2013 and April 2014.

Feed and wholesale food prices have seen their highest rise since 1980, when the United States was in the grip of double-digit inflation.

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Food-Price Inflation Only Getting Worse

“Taken together, these price increases suggest that retail food price inflation will continue and likely accelerate in the coming months,” the USDA press release noted.

The inflation is not affecting all prices at the grocery store. The USDA predicted that prices for sugar and sweets will fall by 1 to 2 percent in 2014 and prices for nonalcoholic beverages will fall by 1.5 to 2.5 percent in 2014.

But overall, food prices are on the rise. It looks like raising your own food might be the only way for average people to combat food inflation.

How are you fighting higher food prices? Tell us in the comments section below.

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