From Farm to Table: Why Food Costs So Damn Much

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Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

A new report issued by the Labor Department indicates that Americans should be prepared for food prices to continue to rise this summer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation and deflation, indicated a 2.1 percent rise over the year previous, and a 0.3 percent increase since June. The increase follows shortly after the biggest rise in consumer prices in more than a year, with food prices hitting their highest marker since August of 2011, per Reuters.

The report notes that Americans should expect their supermarket bills to jump about 2.5 to 3.5 percent this year. In particular, a CBS News report notes, beef and other meats, along with corn, soybeans, wheat and coffee are all likely to be particularly spendy items. The CPI news release indicates that “meat, poultry, fish, and eggs” saw a 7.7 percent change from last year, and a full 1 percent change since April.

Dairy products were another category that saw an unusual increase in price compared with other categories; spending on dairy products, the report indicates, rose 4.2 percent from 2013, and .6 percent from April, the seventh consecutive increase in that category. In fact, the only staple food items which saw declining prices were cereals and bakery products, which descended 0.1 percent.

With food prices continuing to a be a source of stress for Americans, many of whom are still struggling amidst a painfully slow-to-recover economic climate, it’s important to understand where the price increases are coming from, and what they mean for the average American consumer. We break down the pressures affecting your food prices, starting at the source, all the way to your table.

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