Food prices rise sharply – and there’s more to come

Stacy Finz
SF Chronicle
December 17, 2010

For the first time since 2008, inflation is hitting consumers in the stomach.

Since November 2009, meat, poultry, fish and eggs have surged 5.8 percent in price.

Grocery prices grew by more than 1 1/2 times the overall rate of inflation this year, outpaced only by costs of transportation and medical care, according to numbers released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economists predict that this is only the beginning. Fueled by the higher costs of wheat, sugar, corn, soybeans and energy, shoppers could see as much as a 4 percent increase at the supermarket checkout next year.

“I noticed just this month that my grocery bill for the same old stuff – cereal, eggs, milk, orange juice, peanut butter, bread – spiked $25,” said Sue Perry, deputy editor of ShopSmart magazine, a nonprofit publication from Consumer Reports. “It was a bit of sticker shock.”

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