Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Return of... stockpiling:
Stockpiling staples such as rice, meats and canned soup is coming into vogue again as food inflation and $3.60-a-gallon gasoline have consumers cutting the frequency of shopping trips -- and loading up carts when they do shop. Sometimes shoppers are prodded by fears of impending food shortages, though none have yet materialized in the U.S.

The Department of Agriculture predicts a 4% to 5% increase in food prices this year, nearly twice the rate for 2005. The largest increases are forecast for fats and oils, estimated to rise 8% to 9%, and cereals and bakery products, projected to jump 7.5% to 8.5%. That's on top of existing increases: A dozen large eggs cost $2.20 in March, up from $1.63 a year earlier. White bread now costs $1.35 a pound, compared with $1.16 a year ago.