Now is a good time to stock up on some common staple foods. After a summer of weather that damaged several crops, expect an autumn of higher prices.
Peanut butter is about to reach new heights — beyond the roof of your mouth. The summer's scorching temperatures and dry weather in peanut-growing states such as Georgia and Texas devastated the year's peanut crop, driving wholesale prices up. Prices for leading brand Jif will jump 30 percent in November, company officials recently announced.
Have extra freezer space? Then use it to store beef, pork and poultry before expected price hikes of up to 6 percent in early 2012. That will result from the summer's weather hurting the Midwest corn crop, driving up the cost of the main feed source for cows, hogs, turkeys and chickens.
And because of flooding in the South, about 1 million acres of durum wheat used in pasta were not planted, so expect pasta prices to head north.
Overall, eat-at-home food prices will probably rise about 4 percent in 2012, the Agriculture Department says, after a similar increase this year.
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Sid Kirchheimer writes about consumer and health issues.