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The latest news from every corner of the state, including policy emerging from Missouri's capitol.

Food prices will see biggest increase in 14 years, according to Missouri researchers

 Shoppers like those at this Kroger store in Rolla, MO will see higher food prices this year, especially for meat and fresh fruit.
Jonathan Ahl
/
Harvest Public Media
Shoppers like those at this Kroger store in Rolla, MO will see higher food prices this year, especially for meat and fresh fruit.

Food prices will be a lot higher this year, according to a new study of the agriculture and food industry.

According to the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, a think tank at the University of Missouri, food prices will be at least 5% higher in 2022 compared to last year. That’s the biggest single year increase in 14 years.

The group’s director, Pat Westhoff, said the final number could be even higher.

“I won’t give you a specific number, but it’s safe to say that if we were creating a new baseline today, we’d almost certainly show a higher rate,” said Westhoff, who heads the institute.

While prices will be up across the board, Westhoff said some foods will see especially high prices.

“We have seen much larger increases year over year for meats, for fats and oils, and for fresh fruits than you did for most other products,” he said.

Labor costs, fuel prices, supply chain problems and the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are all partially to blame the increases. Those same problems are at the heart of the overall inflation rate, according to economists.

Westhoff said while prices are higher, no one in food production will be getting richer.

“For example, at the farm level, yes, farmers are getting higher prices for the commodities that they sell, but they are also paying more for fertilizer, fuel and for other inputs,” Westhoff said. “And so the net income picture for farmers may not be terribly different this year from what it was last year.”

Westhoff said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will also likely have long-lasting effects on food prices, lengthening the amount of time before food inflation rates get back to normal. The average increase in food prices over the past two decades has been 2.5%.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Harvest Public Media reports on food systems, agriculture and rural issues through a collaborative network of NPR stations throughout the Midwest and Plains.

Copyright 2022 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Jonathan is the General Manager of Tri States Public radio. His duties include but are not limited to, managing all facets of the station, from programming to finances to operations. Jonathan grew up in the south suburbs of Chicago. He has a B.A in music theory and composition from WIU and a M.A in Public Affairs Reporting from The University of Illinois at Springfield. Jonathan began his journey in radio as a student worker at WIUM. While in school Jonathan needed a summer job on campus. He heard WIUM was hiring, and put his bid in. Jonathan was welcomed on the team and was very excited to be using his music degree. He had also always been interested in news and public radio. He soon learned he was a much better reporter than a musician and his career was born. While at WIUM, Jonathan hosted classical music, completed operations and production work, was a news reporter and anchor, and served as the stage manager for Rural Route 3. Jonathan then went to on to WIUS in Springfield where he was a news anchor and reporter covering the state legislature for Illinois Public Radio. After a brief stint in commercial radio and TV, Jonathan joined WCBU in Peoria, first in operations then as a news reporter and for the last ten years of his time there he served as the News Director. Jonathan’s last job before returning to Tri States Public Radio was as the News Director/ Co-Director of Content for Iowa Public Radio. During Jonathan’s off time he enjoys distance running, playing competitive Scrabble, rooting for Chicago Cubs, listening to all kinds of music and reading as much as he can. He lives in Macomb with his wife Anita and children Tommy and Lily.