A federal analyst says Iowans will see food prices rise at their grocery stores this year, but not as quickly or as high as last year. Ricky Volpe, a food economist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, says our supermarket bills will go up, like everything else, but the price increases won’t match the record pace of 2011.
“The inflationary pressures that have driven prices up through 2011 have mostly been incorporated into retail food prices,” Volpe says. “Looking ahead to 2012, we are looking forward to a more normal year in terms of what we’ve come to expect in year-over-year inflations.”
Last year, overall food prices for consumers rose 5%. For the year ahead, the U.S.D.A. is projecting an increase of %3.5. Due to conditions that may still arise, Volpe says we may see prices on certain products fall.
Volpe says, “If we have great weather, if we have higher-than-expected supplies, if our exports cool off a little bit, then we may very well see some deflations in some food categories but on the whole, we have no reason to expect that right now.” Volpe says barring any of those conditions, food likely will cost consumers more in the year ahead.