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Corn crop reduction to cause food price hikes

5:37 PM, Jul 18, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The corn crop in the United States could be reduced 20 to 30 percent due to the drought, and since so many things you buy in the grocery store contain corn, you can expect to pay more for your groceries.

Pop corn, corn chips, corn oil, corn tortillas, corn flakes, fresh corn, canned corn, and corn syrup contain corn. Corn syrup is found in such things as peanut butter and sweet drinks. 

The list seems endless.

The price of corn is expected to rise dramatically and increase the price of all these items. Which is bad news for shoppers like Vicki Martin of Callahan, who says it's a shame the weather is causing price hikes.

"I think it is going to be really rough. I mean already prices are high and it is kind of difficult sometimes to purchase things that cost so much."

Meat prices are expected to rise because cattle and chickens are fed corn feed. Glenda Jacobs, a first-time shopper at the Rowe's IGA Supermarket on Dunn Avenue, likes their prices but says she'll watch prices more closely.

"I think we are really going to have to rethink how we shop, using our coupons, and watching our prices, using store brands, buying the store brand products," said Jacobs." I think we are really going to have rethink how we shop, and be more cautious about how much we cook too."

Danny Lee has owned two small meat stores in Jacksonville for 15 years and he's worried for his customers and for his small business.

"Prices are going to go up. The consumer is going to be concerned. As a retail outlet we are concerned, and then availability," said Lee. "If they don't want to take it to market, or if they want to export it more, because they get a higher price when they export it."

Lee gets a new price list every Friday, and it's been going up a few pennies each week. He would not be surprised if it rises 15 to 20 percent in the coming weeks and it could cost him customers.

"Are they going to change dietary habits? Do less meat, more substitute-type things for it. Less people through the door is not good for small businessmen."

Lee employs 14 in his two stores and hopes he can keep them around through this crisis.

"If it affects the economy too much, affects our business, then we may have to employ less people. It's going to effect the economy period, an economy that didn't need anything else to happen to it."

Corn is also contained in ethanol fuels, so you'll likely be paying more at the gas pump in the future.

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