Food Costs Rising Fastest in 17 Years

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What else can I say about this that the title doesn’t say already?

From the AP:

The U.S. is wrestling with the worst food inflation in 17 years, and analysts expect new data due on Wednesday to show it’s getting worse. That’s putting the squeeze on poor families and forcing bakeries, bagel shops and delis to explain price increases to their customers.

U.S. food prices rose 4 percent in 2007, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And the agency says 2008 could be worse, with a rise of as much as 4.5 percent.

Higher prices for food and energy are again expected to play a leading role in pushing the government’s consumer price index higher for March.

Analysts are forecasting that Wednesday’s Department of Labor report will show the Consumer Price Index rose at a 4 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, up from last year’s overall rise of 2.8 percent.

For the U.S. poor, any increase in food costs sets up an either-or equation: Give something up to pay for food.

In other news, McCain says we’re in a recession.

So is it going to get worse before it gets better?

Robert Reich thinks so…

We’re heading into the worst economic crisis in a half century or more. Many of the Americans who have been getting nowhere for decades are in even deeper trouble. Large numbers of people in Pennsylvania and across the nation are losing their homes and losing their jobs, and the situation is likely to grow worse. Consumers are at the end of their ropes, fuel and food costs are skyrocketing, they can’t go deeper into debt, they can’t pay their bills. They aren’t buying, which means every business from the auto industry to housing to even giant GE is hurting. Which means they’ll begin laying off more people, and as they do, we will experience an even more dangerous downward spiral.

And so it goes…

  • Elyas

    This is nothing compared to what’s going on around the world. The UN, World Bank, and IMF have recently warned of a global food crises, and rising food prices have led to riots in several countries (and the resignation of Haiti’s prime minister over the weekend).

    This is one of the more underreported major stories in the media.

  • bubbles

    I’ve noticed it. Food shopping is a major pain right now. Thank god for Ramen.

    Oddly enough, I’ve noticed that many electric appliances have gone down in price… hmmm.

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    One thing all donklephants can agree on is to end this biofuels nonsense, and stop these government subsidies for biofuel crops. This is the primary reason for higher food prices.

  • Avinash_Tyagi

    And yet we plunk down billions in Iraq, billions that could be used to make sure families could keep affording groceries

  • leftdog

    Elyas is totally right. The problem is going to be most disastrous internationally in poor countries. It’s the cause of some rioting already in Haiti. In countries like Bangladesh and parts of India, it is going to get very bad for the next while.

    Jimmy the Dhimmi says “One thing all donklephants can agree on is to end this biofuels nonsense, and stop these government subsidies for biofuel crops. This is the primary reason for higher food prices.” That is only part of the problem – the huge rise in fuel prices has radically increased the cost of production for food staples PLUS you have to add on the huge rise in the cost of transporting the food.

  • Jim S

    Biofuels have nothing to do with the rising price of rice in Asia, which is also a major worry. But biofuels from food crops is still a bad idea.