New Jersey Families Are Paying More For Food [AUDIO]
A new report finds it's costing more and more to feed the typical New Jersey family.
According to the latest Food Institute report, feeding a family of four at home has risen $4.16 a week, compared to this same time last year.
Garden State consumers are spending an estimated 75 cents more per week for fruits and vegetables; 60 cents per week more for cereals and bakery products; and 44 percent more per week for dairy products.
"One of the forces acting over the past several years has been the mandated production of ethanol to add to the gasoline supply, so that's causing more land to be used for growing corn, that's pushing up corn prices, which then affects the price of cattle, which eat corn," says Rutgers economist James Hughes.
He also points out the cost of energy also affects food prices because of fertilizer costs, and the cost of operating farm machinery and shipping farm products to market.
Hughes adds New Jersey may also have slightly higher than average foods costs because of one factor.
"Mainly because of the long distance to ship food to the Northeast. For example, a lot of the dairy comes from the far Midwest and California."
Nevertheless, he says food prices, as a share of the total household budget have declined, so we are eating as cheaply as virtually anybody in the world, and that leaves money for expenditures in other areas, such as personal services.