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Jan 14, 2011 11:32 AM

Why Are Food Prices Shooting Up?

Has anyone heard anything about why food prices are rising steeply and suddenly? I can't believe what I am seeing---in Chicago, at least, basics like cheese and oatmeal have doubled in price. Just curious.

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  1. Transportation costs are up. World-wide demand for food, ditto. Fear of poor crop yields due to really bad weather recently in many parts of the globe. I fear this is more of a trend than a blip.

    1 Reply
    1. re: pikawicca

      NOAA says wettest and hottest year on record. Blame it on the fossil fuels. We've passed peak oil and our population keeps growing.

    2. I haven't bought oatmeal lately, but cheese, meat, produce, etc. haven't increased appreciably in price in Northern California. Maybe it's a regional thing?

      4 Replies
      1. re: alanbarnes

        I buy natural oats from bulk bin at either Sunsplash (part of NRG) or WF...I paid .89 per pound for them and that's about what they've always been, just saying. Haven't seen the spike in price here yet, anyway.

        1. re: alanbarnes

          cheese, meat, produce, etc. haven't increased appreciably in price in Northern California.
          really? produce hasn't? because it certainly has in Southern California!

          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

            Onions have been high because of a bad harvest last year, but aside from that I haven't noticed any significant increases.

            1. re: alanbarnes

              broccoli & green beans have increased down here. i know it has a lot to do with the torrential rains we had last month, and the produce guy at one of the stores where i do a lot of my shopping said they're having a heck of a time getting a decent supply of root vegetables at this point because of it as well, since the ground was too saturated and waterlogged a lot of the crops. he warned me that beets, carrots, fennel, turnips, parsnips, radishes, etc may be hard to come by in the next few weeks.

        2. Here's an article about the global food chain stretched to the limit and food prices soaring due to tightened supplies as a result of bad weather and rising global demand:

          1 Reply
          1. re: janniecooks

            All grain futures are going through the roof. Causes range from Russia not exporting this year due to poor crops, fires, etc. The Asian demand for meat is exploding; to raise animals you need grain such as corn, look at the historical price of a bushel of corn over the last 18 months. Not a food item, but cotton futures are also skyrocketing, the U.S.A. is the world's largest producer of cotton. Look for cotton and cotton blended garments to go up an average of $2.00 retail starting in Fall 2011

          2. To be a bit more specific than "food," has anyone noticed the absurd price of peanut oil today? I've been buying it in bulk for years. Well, gallon jugs anyway. For one person living alone, that's "bulk." I ran out yesterday. It is currently $28.00 a gallon for LuAnne peanut oil at Walmart!! That's $7.00 a quart. And if you want organic from Amazon, it's $8.00 a pint plus shipping! I can buy ghee for $6.00 a pint and not have to clarify butter myself. "Insanity" is the new name for instant inflation! What's that you say, Tiny Tim. "God bless us one and all?" You better hope!

            11 Replies
            1. re: Caroline1

              Do you mean LouAna Pure Peanut Oil?? I buy a lot of it....a couple of gallons (or the 3 gallon container) at a time from Wally World....I don't pay that much attention to it's price but I'm thinking $12.99,,,$13.99....Certainly no where close to $28.00.....

              1. re: Uncle Bob

                I bought some recently it was also about $13

                1. re: smartie

                  Just had someone check an independent grocer...Private Label 100% Pure Peanut Oil ~~ $9.99 Gallon ~~

                  1. re: Uncle Bob

                    hanks to both you and smartie for the reassuring words and meantime I will pray that there was an error in the price at my Walmart at SZpringcreek and Central Expressway in Plano, Texas, but... on January 14th LouAna Pure Peanut Oil was $28.00 a gallon! I tried to find it in other Walmart stores by changing my zip code on the website, and could get no prices anywhere else... "Out of stock" or "Enter a different zip code" was the response. Scared the blazes out of me! We'll see if it all shakes out to your prices or not... I sure hope it doesn't shake out to my local prices! It's scary.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      Oh, and just for the record, I called my local Walmart and asked for today's price on a gallon of peanut oil... It's STILL $28.00 a gallon! I asked the manager if he knew why. He said they just mark the price of their incoming goods with what they're told to mark them by the head office. If I lived somewhere where it's still $15.00 a gallon, I'd stock up! Or maybe I'll move. This is ridiculous!

                      1. re: Caroline1

                        Caroline ~~ Just went by a Wally World...LouAna Peanut Oil $9.99 Gallon ~~$28.34 for the 3 (Three) Gallon container!!. ~~ It would seem your local Wally World has their shelf tags (price tags) crossed up...Take a gallon to the front end, and have it price checked....HTH!

                        1. re: Uncle Bob

                          Above and beyond. Bless you! I did call and talk to the grocery dept manager the other day and he said, yep, $28.00. Checked on line and couldn't get a price. So after your post I called another Walmart in the area... $10.00 a gallon! So I called my usual Walmart... $28.00! I explained to the store manager (for what it's worth) that they have the 3 gallon price on the one gallon product! He said he'd look into it. I may be changing Walmart Stores. Apparently they've had that price at that store for a while now because my housekeeper told me that's what they paid when they needed some for a deep fryer for her husband's birthday party. I will be pursuing this farther, and thank you for your help!

                            1. re: Uncle Bob

                              Sweet victory. Well, close anyway. Had a chat with the store manager this morning, explained the problem to him, when I said their current shelf price is for the 3 gallon size but they only have single gallons in stock and that's what they're charging at the register, he said he would take care of it. About an hour later, I bought a gallon for $10.86, which is not quite $9.99, but hey, it beats $28.00 a gallon by a country mile! Thanks again for the help, Uncle Bob, and to everyone else.

                              1. re: Caroline1

                                Caroline -- if you live in an area that has Publix grocery stores, they have a different brand of oil (quart) for BOGO every couple of weeks, with no limit. That's usually how we stock up in my family.

                                1. re: neel2004

                                  neel, arrghhh! with Publix but not on the oil...I've noticed at least one item they've jacked the price up...instant light charcoal..used to be $2.99 for 4 pounds...NOW it's $2.99 for 3.3 pounds...I've brought it to their attention, yet another item I'll be buying at Target or Walmart. I buy less and less at Publix, same with many co-workers.

            2. Corn and soybean prices are now re-testing the multi-year highs that we saw in spring 2008. Bad weather has affected crops and inventories. Oil prices are pushing $100/barrel again. All this feeds into food costs. Corn and soybeans feed cows --> milk is more expensive --> cheese is more expensive. Higher fuel costs = higher transport costs for every link in the farm-to-table chain.