This past year, the sun has been putting in a lot of overtime -- which has U.S. crops and farmers suffering horribly as a nationwide drought persists.
Many crops have been burned, including grains such as corn and wheat -- grains that are precursors to many foods such as sodas, cereals, baked goods, dairy products, chicken and beef.
Experts predict rising commodity prices will result in up to a 5% increase in food prices in 2013 -- and perhaps even into early 2014 -- leading to higher grocery bills and restaurant tabs for consumers.
What This Means to a Family of Four
The Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion estimates a moderate weekly grocery bill for a family of four with school-age children at roughly $236.60, which translates into an annual family budget of approximately $12,300 for food consumed at home.
Assuming the anticipated 5% increase in food prices next year, a family of four is looking at an additional $615 on their annual grocery bill in 2013.
For dining away from home, if we assume the average American family of four's typical weekly restaurant bill is $100, or $5,200 per year. That 5% increase will add $260 to a family's restaurant spending next year.
All told, the unrelenting national drought could add up to an extra $875 on food spending for an average family of four.
What are you doing to help keep your grocery bill down?