The Indiana Farm Bureau says food prices have broken a record set in 2008.
The average food cost decreased after the spike four years ago, but Indiana Farm Bureau spokesperson Kathleen Dutro says those prices have since jumped back up in part because of fuel costs. She says consumers see that reflected in prices at the grocery store.
“The cost of fuel is factored into every single step in the food production process,” Dutro says. “I mean, obviously it takes fuel to plant it and harvest it. But it takes fuel for everything. It takes fuel to process it, it takes fuel to package it, it takes fuel to get it to the grocery store.”
Speaking on WFIU’s Noon Edition, co-owner of Strangers Hill Organic Farm Dave Rollo says local food is more immune to the fluctuations of fuel prices because farmers don’t have to ship their food long distances.
“The energy prices going up is going to give a competitive advantage for local food. No question. So that’s part of it,” he says. “Another is, we’re an organic farm, so we’re doing it without a lot of inputs. Now in one sense that means a lot more human labor. We’re not doing heavily mechanized industrial agriculture.”
That heavy farm equipment, he says, uses large amounts of fuel. However, local food has other restrictions. For example, many foods cannot be purchased unless they are in season, and limited supplies can increase prices.
The Indiana Farm Bureau says the largest overall price increases in its survey were in meat and dairy items. It attributes that to high feed costs, which are in turn caused by a rise in corn prices.