Brace Yourselves - Food Prices to Soar

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A new forecast predicts the price of food is going to continue to soar throughout this year, and it's likely to be just as bad next year.

The numbers are staggering: 2008 will see the biggest jump in food prices in almost 20 years -- up five to six percent.

Click play to watch CBN News Reporter Melissa Charbonneau's report.

And then up another four or five percent next year. That's what the Agriculture Department forecasts.

Shoppers are feeling the bite. A woman in a New York City grocery store said, "It's sort of like it's so out of this world that you can't really take it in."

Another said, "I think of it like I'm eating money, not food."

Though the price of oil has plummeted in recent weeks, it's still way above where it was a year or two ago, and that's the same for many basic commodities, especially food commodities.

For instance, what it costs to feed a cow and transport it to market has gone way up, so now wholesale beef prices have soared more than seven percent in just the last month.

Bruce Kasman, chief economist at J.P. Morgan, warned, "We should brace ourselves for increased prices across a wide range of goods and services."

In fact, it could get worse than what the Agriculture Department is predicting.

Over the last 12 months, wholesale prices have shot up 9.8 percent, the fastest rise in 27 years.

Many folks have watched the price at the gas pump sink over the last few weeks and felt that might mean a big break in inflation is coming across the board.

But Goldman Sachs, one of the major players in the commodities market, predicts oil is going to turn around and rocket upwards again, probably to a record high $149 a barrel by the end of the year.

So how to cope? Those thinking beef's so high, they'll just turn to chicken -- well, not so fast.

The cost of chicken feed has risen so high, poultry costs are going to shoot way up.

Give up meat altogether? Fruit and vegetable prices are going up 5.5 percent this year.

The costs of wheat, corn, soybeans, rice are all way higher than a year or two ago.

So your average box of cereal? As one man shopping at a New York grocery store complained, "It used to be like $3.00 a box or something. Now it's like $5.00 a box."

Analysts expect food prices will eventually moderate. But that could take awhile. For now, expect to see those rising prices at the grocery store just keep rising.

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Melissa Charbonneau

Melissa Charbonneau

CBN News Reporter

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