WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. food prices will rise by at least 7 percent in 2009 because of higher feed costs for chickens, hogs and cattle, said a group of food-industry economists on Thursday.
It would be the third year in a row that food prices rose faster than the overall U.S. inflation rate. Food inflation is the highest since 1990.
"The sizable increase in the cost of producing food has not been fully passed on to the consumer," said private consultant Bill Lapp. He foresaw food inflation of 7 percent-9 percent in 2009.
During a teleconference, economists from the National Chicken Council and the consultancy Farm Econ said food inflation could be 7 percent-8 percent. The teleconference was arranged by a group of major foodmakers.
Wholesale prices for items used by foodmakers have climbed more rapidly than grocery and restaurant prices, so higher consumer prices are in store, said Lapp.
Although grain prices have declined since summer, this year's corn, wheat and soybean crops are forecast to fetch prices at the farm gate that are double their 2005 levels. Corn and soybeans are major ingredients in feed rations.
Emphasis added by me.
Oh shit. I don't like this at all. Even though the price of transport has now fallen, we're still in for higher food prices because of the animal foodstuffs? Prices are already outrageous, and now this?