The last time finished food prices jumped as much as they did (3.9%) in February? November 1974, when prices climbed 4.2%.
“About seventy percent of the February rise can be traced to higher prices for fresh and dry vegetables, which jumped 48.7 percent. Advances in the indexes for meats and dairy products also were major factors in the increase in the finished consumer foods index.”
Energy costs also increased. While motorists have seen prices for unleaded gasoline rise by 30-40 cents per gallon since Jan. 1, the price of diesel fuel has risen even steeper.
The department said “the intermediate energy goods index advanced 4.3 percent in February. Over 30 percent of the February monthly increase can be traced to prices for diesel fuel, which moved up 12.6 percent.”
The Department’s Consumer Price Index will be released tomorrow.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has warned that rising commodity prices, led by a doubling of corn prices and increases of 25 percent or more for beef and pork products, will lead to higher costs at the supermarket counter this year.
Meat prices rose by almost 6 percent in 2010.
If anyone wants to swap lentil and chickpeas recipes or share ways to jazz up ramen noodles, let me know.