Beat Rising Food Prices With These 6 Affordable Grocery Items
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) Although many food items, such as beef, pork and oranges are rising in price due to droughts and crop viruses, there are still some items on the shelves that are affordable for budget-conscious shoppers.
"When you take a bird's eye view of the supermarket, now the situation is that inflation is stronger in the perimeter of the store than the aisles," said Ricky Volpe, a food economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A recent USDA report predicts prices to rise for beef, pork, dairy, fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Rising food cost are due to a variety a factors from consumer demand, farmers' planting decision and unpredictable weather conditions to crop and animal viruses that can impact supply; this, in turn, pressures changes in retail prices.
A 2012 drought that thinned out U.S. cattle herds is driving retail beef prices, and drier conditions in California this year are impacting fresh fruit and vegetable production. Fresh fruit prices are expected to increase by 3.5 to 4.5%, according to USDA 2014 forecasts.
Hog prices are also at record highs because of the spread of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) in pigs, and retail pork prices are up by 5.3% on the year, according to the Bureau of Labor's food statistics.
Despite the rise in price for beef, pork and many fresh produce, most items at the store will increase at normal rate of inflation -- which is set between 2.5 and 3.5%, according to the USDA Economic Research Service.
"The things that are opposite are breakfast cereals, side dishes, condiments, sugars, sweets, cookies and crackers," Volpe said. "These foods are experiencing almost a flat price and will continue to become relatively cheaper in the future."
In order to beat the rising costs, here are some foods you should buy to fill your stomach -- as you keep your wallet robust.
Whole Wheat Bread
- 4-year change: +14%
- 1-year change: +1.7%
- Current Price: $2.06 per pan
Over the last two year, the U.S. has the highest grain supply since the 1960s. Major food crops, such as corn, wheat, soybean and rice are strong and prices for these staples are down from 2012, according to Michael Swanson, an agricultural economist at Wells Fargo Bank.
"The inflation of all these shelf safe goods, bakery good, cereals and pasta and all that, is pressure on those food is down and prices for those food should remain down into next year," Volpe said.