It’s not just the drought in parts of the U.S. and in other countries that’s driving food prices. A number of diseases and rare bacteria are also affecting how much you ultimately pay for your groceries.
Coffee plantations, for example, are experiencing a double whammy: They’re being hit by a fungus as well as by a beetle that’s attacking the beans. Even Ebola is having a damaging effect on cocoa imports from Africa by holding up shipments.
Food prices have been on the rise for most of the year and it’s unlikely they’ll drop anytime soon.
The Agriculture Department expects meat prices to rise 6.5 percent in 2014, up from a 5.5 percent forecast earlier this year and well ahead of the 20-year average increase of 2.9 percent.
The trend is similar when it comes to milk and other dairy products, as well as vegetables, fruits and nuts.
On the positive side, corn and wheat crops have been good this year as the Department of Agriculture reported larger-than-expected stockpiles of the grain, prompting prices to fall.
One other piece of good news for consumers—with gas prices dropping below $2 in some areas, a trip to the grocery store costs a lot less.
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