Families have been feeling increasing financial pain at grocery-store cash registers, exacerbating their difficulties in the souring U.S. economy.
Here’s how much it hurts: A basket of 16 basic food items cost $48.68 over the past three months, up 10.5% from a year ago, the American Farm Bureau Federation said Thursday.
The latest survey from the nation’s largest farm organization underscores the pressures reverberating throughout the food chain, from the American farm to the executive suites of the largest U.S. packaged-food manufacturers.
Besides the elevated costs for basic food ingredients, rising energy prices have boosted processing, hauling, and refrigerating expenses for food makers including Kraft Foods Inc. and Campbell Soup Company.
Potatoes, cheddar cheese and apples posted the largest price gains from the second quarter of this year. A five-pound bag of potatoes cost $3.38, up 83 cents. Cheddar was $4.91 a pound, up 31 cents. Apples fetched $1.80 a pound, up 26 cents.
Among other items that rose are the following: pork chops, up 22 cents to $3.62 a pound; ground chuck, rising 10 cents to $2.95 a pound; and whole milk, costing 4 cents more at $3.92 a gallon.