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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • Food costs eat budgets as prices continue to rise

  • Not just beef, but other foods are also rising in cost for various reasons - putting pressure on family food budgets.
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  • Family budgets may need some tightening as food prices continue to rise. Meat and dairy prices are rising, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal, because the numbers of cattle have dwindled because of drought and also because "fast-growing Asian countries" are seeing a rise in demand for milk. "But prices also are higher for fruits, vegetables, sugar and beverages, according to government data," The Wall Street Journal reported. "In futures markets, coffee prices have soared so far this year more than 70 percent, hogs are up 42 percent on disease concerns and cocoa has climbed 12 percent on rising demand, particularly from emerging markets." Nell Casey at The Gothamist rounded up these facts: "Fresh vegetable prices are expected to rise up to 3 percent this year with fruit prices rising as much as 3.5 percent. Remember: avocados are a fruit." The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers today that shows a 0.1 increase. "An increase in the food index accounted for more than half of the all items increase in February," the BLS reported. "The food index rose 0.4 percent in February, driven by a 0.5 percent increase in the index for food at home, with four of the six major grocery store food group indexes increasing." The Wall Street Journal referred to how the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that "retail food prices will rise between 2.5 percent and 3.5 percent this year, up from 1.4 percent last year. The inflation comes despite sharp decreases over the past year in the prices of grains, including corn, after a big U.S. harvest. ... Food prices have gained 2.8 percent, on average, for the past 10 years, outpacing the increase in prices for all goods, which rose 2.4 percent, according to the government." A recent roundup on higher beef prices points out that even with improving conditions, it can take years of breeding for the supply of cattle to increase. Fortunately, for worried Casey over at The Gothamist, avocados do not have to breed. Hamilton Nolan at Gawker seems glad the prices are higher. "Consider us, the average American consumers: couch-bound, sluggish, overweight, grazing on a steady diet of heavy meats, hormone-laced milk and refined sugars," he wrote. "An economically required fast is the best thing that could happen to us." EMAIL: mdegroote@deseretnews.com Twitter: @degroote Facebook: facebook.com/madegroote%3Cimg%20src%3D%22http%3A//beacon.deseretconnect.com/beacon.gif%3Fcid%3D154564%26pid%3D46%22%20/%3E
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