AN INCHING INCREASE: 2013 overall food prices likely to stay at four percent rise

COLUMBIA CITY — While consumers saw an increase in their average Thanksgiving food bill this year, the common grocery bag may not continue to be packed as full of certain foods — as shoppers attempt to cut down on expenses.“Prices have inched up in the last several months, and it looks like overall food prices will not see a rise above a four percent increase heading into 2013,” said Dave Addison, with the Whitley County Purdue Extension Office. “We’ve already seen significant price rises for Thanksgiving turkey, which was priced at 60 cents per pound and jumped to nearly 88-90 cents per pound. A lot of how much the increase will affect the common shopper depends on what kinds of food they are used to buying and how much they want of that food.”According to Addison, beef is the main price rise customers are likely to continue feeling in their wallets as they head into Christmas and the new year. Beef increases are expected to max out at a five to six percent increase into next year.“Most of the corn that we grow is not used for human consumption, it’s grown for the livestock,” said Addison. “That does affect how much livestock we have out there, and that is what leads to higher beef prices. To cut back on costs, farmers are more likely to cut back on their livestock because they can’t afford the food to feed them.”Addison said U.S. crops west of Indiana took an harder hit with the drought, and crops to the east of Indiana, such as Ohio, produced slightly more than Indiana.According to the Associated Press, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) estimated corn production is expected to be down 13 percent from 2011 — representing the lowest corn production volume since 2006. While the U.S. is looked upon as one of the main corn producers of the world, corn exports are affecting the international market — making other countries think about planting more of their own.For a more in depth look at this story, see the Nov. 27 issue of The Post and Mail. Don't have a subscription? Call (260) 244-5153 or subscribe to our e-edition. For breaking news, sports updates and additional coverage, bookmark the homepage and find us on facebook.