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USDA expects food prices to increase by 5 percent this year

With warm weather on the way, families may want to think about growing some of their own food. Prices are expected to rise by 5 percent this year. That would be the highest single-year surge since 2008, according to the USDA, and comes on top of record increases in 2021.

The department attributed the price hike to the impacts of the conflict in Ukraine and the recent increases in interest rates by the Federal Reserve, which it said are expected to put upward and downward pressures on food prices. Increased prices will affect everything from basic items such as meat, poultry, eggs and dairy products to fresh fruits, sweets, cereals, bakery products and nonalcoholic beverages.

READ: How some food donation hurts people

Frozen chicken stocks have been historically low in recent months and there has been an ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza, also known as the bird flu. The USDA said this could contribute to poultry and egg price increases through reduced supply or decrease prices through lowered international demand for U.S. poultry products or eggs.

Poultry prices are predicted to increase between 6 percent and 7 percent in 2022, while egg prices are predicted to increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent. Elsewhere, dairy product prices are expected to increase between 4 and 5 percent in 2022; fats and oils between 6 and 7 percent; fresh fruit between 5 and 6 percent; and processed fruit and vegetable prices between 4.5 and 5.5 percent. Cereals and bakery product prices are predicted to rise between 3 and 4 percent, while nonalcoholic beverage prices are set to increase between 3.5 and 4.5 percent.

Overall, food prices are predicted to increase between 4.5 and 5.5 percent, according to the department, while prices for food-away-from-home, such as food ordered in restaurants and cafes or from street vendors, are expected to increase between 5.5 and 6.5 percent.

The USDA’s outlook comes as President Joe Biden said on March 24 that both the United States and Canada may have to increase their food production in an effort to offset shortages in Europe caused by the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine. Both countries are among the world’s top producers of agricultural commodities and specialize in products such as wheat, maize, rapeseed, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil, and also are top exporters of fertilizers.

“It’s going to be real,” Biden said. “The price of the sanctions is not just imposed upon Russia, it’s imposed upon an awful lot of countries as well, including European countries in our country as well.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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