Bread, Beef and Other Foods That Will Cost Way More Next Year

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Got milk? You probably will next year — reports of $8-a-gallon milk are overblown, but there are some food items that will have you digging deeper in your pockets next year. 
Beef: Where’s the beef, indeed? Beef prices have been on a tear lately, experts say, and it’s not likely to let up anytime soon. Corinne Alexander, an associate professor at Purdue University, tells trade publication Supermarket News that because of several factors, “beef prices are probably going to stay high for at least the next few years.

Market research firm the NPD Group says in a new report by restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs that “expected price increases” for beef will create a headache for restaurant-goers, but it’s likely to hit consumers even harder. NPD Group vice president Harry Balzer says that while only about 30% of what we pay at restaurants reflects the costs of food, around 80% of our grocery bill is food costs.

Bread: Our daily bread might get more expensive next year, according to a USDA report update in October. “both wheat and wheat flour prices increased last month—wheat by 4.9 percent and wheat flour by 3.6 percent. These increases support the notion that inflation for bread and cereal prices in the supermarket will pick up in 2014,” the agency’s Economic Research Service says.

Cereal: The most important meal of the day could cost you a little more if your breakfast consists of digging into a bowl of flakes, puffs or o’s, according to that same USDA report.

(MORE: Is It Time to Start Stockpiling Bacon?)

Wild fish: According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, the price of wild-caught fish has come close to doubling between 1990 and last year, although the price of farmed fish hasn’t gone up nearly as much. The Economist blames overfishing for the fact that the amount of wild fish caught has barely budged in more than two decades, even as global demand for fish slyrockets. With more demand and limited supply, experts say there’s only one place for prices to go, and that’s up.

Chocolate: Sorry, chocoholics; your habit is about to get more expensive. CNBC says the cost of the raw ingredients that go into a chocolate bar climbed by 28% between the beginning of this year and October, and experts say prices are only going to climb higher, a combination of growing demand, unpredictable weather and political volatility in the world’s biggest cocoa-producing areas. Chocolate expert Angus Kennedy warns CNBC that consumers with a sweet tooth and the means to indulge it “are prepared to pay” nearly six-and-a-half bucks for a two-ounce chocolate bar.

(MORE: How to Beat Rising Food Prices: Be Smart About When You Buy)

There is some good news on the horizon when it comes to food prices, though: We won’t be seeing pigs fly in 2014. Earlier increases in bacon prices appear to be on the way to a reversal, as a 38% drop in corn prices made it cheaper for farmers to fatten up their pigs. “Pork-belly prices plunged 23 percent since the end of September, and hog futures will fall 14 percent next year,” Bloomberg reported yesterday.