Higher prices for groceries will be enough to kill most consumers' appetites in 2012, especially since shoppers already had to stomach some substantial price hikes last year.
"Just about all items are up -- but the biggest ones are the center of the plate foods like beef, pork and seafood," said Brian Todd, president of the Food Institute, a nonprofit research group in Elmwood Park, NJ.
Soaring demand coupled with the high cost of fuel is weighing on seafood prices, while the increased cost of corn and feed is pressuring farmers to pass on their added expense, Todd explained.
Expect prices to rise another 4% this year -- after last year's 8% increase, he said.
All of these price hikes will likely take their toll on already cash-strapped consumers who spend about 13% of their budget at the grocery store and on eating out. In 2012, more shoppers will be forced to find cheaper alternatives, Todd said.
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