The following posts ran as an article in the Spring 2011 issue of Texas Farm Bureau’s Texas Neighbors publication. Other resources on food prices include a video and a three-part audio series found here: part 1, part 2, part 3.

We all know the feeling—standing at the grocery store check-out, checkbook in hand, waiting for the cashier to give us our total. Lately it seems as though that total keeps inching upward, and our wallets are already stretched to the limit.

It’s true. The price of food, like gasoline and many other consumer goods, is increasing. In its 2011 Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics projected a 3-4 percent increase in food prices this year, the first significant increase since 2008.

Consumer food prices are a complex blend of a variety of factors, including rising fuel costs, strong commodity prices and growing global demand. According to the CPI, nearly half of retail food cost increases come from fuel, transportation and energy costs (44 percent), compared to less than a third for raw farm products (29 percent).

So, what’s fueling food prices, and how long is it expected to last?

Read part 2 of 4