COMMENTARY | I never spent much of my time thinking about corn and grain. I had a vague idea that it was predominantly grown in the Midwestern states and that food exports were a big business for the United States. Other than that, I didn't really care. That was, until the drought started earlier this year and the corn and wheat stocks started to dry up.
A while ago I heard that some experts were predicting the drought would cause the price of some foods - namely meat since grain is a main source of food for animals - but I wasn't worried until I started thinking about corn and grain. Those two foods are in nearly everything, from the feed used for the poultry I buy, to bread, cereals, and nearly every other carbohydrate rich food I love. Wouldn't less corn and grain mean most groceries would cost more?
As it turns out, the answer is yes - but food prices aren't just spiking in the U.S., they've gone up worldwide. According to CNNMoney, the United Nations Food Price Index shows that food prices jumped 6 percent in July, after three months of declines. The global price for corn jumped nearly 23 percent.
Some foods are being affected more than others. For example, the U.N Food Price Index for cereal showed a 17 percent increase in July. The price for oils and fats also increased by 2 percent last month since many of those products use soybeans which are also affected by the drought, according to CNNMoney.
Grocery store prices in my corner of Louisiana jumped up last month. Since the beginning of the drought I've been keeping a better eye on the cost of certain foods, just to see if the expert's predictions came true. So far, prices at my local grocery stores are right in line with the predictions and the U.N. Food price index.
For example, in June I purchased a box of cereal for $3.75. Toward the end of July, the same brand and size box of cereal had jumped up to $4.15 - a $0.40 increase in a month. Meat prices have also gone up in my area. The price of beef went up about $0.50 per pound at my local grocery store. Chicken prices also increased by $0.45 per pound.
While I know there isn't much I can do about what seems to be a global crisis, I have been watching my food budget more closely lately. Hopefully I'll be able to counteract some of the price increases by shopping sales and using coupons, but I'm still feeling the pinch.
*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.
More From This Contributor:
- Food & Cooking