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Analysis: Impact of Food Inflation Especially Apparent in Rural US

Global food prices are at their highest in a decade, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

In November, the FAO’s food price index climbed for a fourth straight month, rising 1.6 points to 134.4 reported Aljazeera (Dec. 2).


Prices of cereal and dairy saw the most noteworthy gains, followed by sugar. Meanwhile, prices of meat and vegetable oils fell slightly in November from the previous month.

Here are the most noteworthy stats related to recent price gains:

  • Cereal prices jumped 3.1% on a monthly basis and 23.2% compared to the same period a year ago.
  • Wheat prices have grown for five consecutive months and are now at their highest since May 2011.
  • The dairy index rose 2.4 percent on a monthly basis.
  • The sugar price index averaged 120.7 points in November – 1.4 percent higher than a month ago and 40 percent higher than a year ago.
  • The meat index fell 0.9 percent from October, dipping for a fourth consecutive month but still 17.6 percent above what it was in November of last year.


Inflation isn’t hitting everyone equally. Data shows that Americans with less education and those living in rural areas are feeling the pinch the most, reported CBC News (Dec. 2).

A recent Gallup poll found that:

  • Among Americans without a college degree, more than half say inflation has caused them financial hardship, compared to 30% of college-educated adults.
  • For people earning less than $40,000 a year, 71% said they felt the sting of higher prices — 3 in 10 said the hardships were severe enough to affect their standard of living.
  • Among those making $100,000 or more, 71% of six-figure-earners said inflation hadn’t caused any hardship

A recent Bank of America analysis also emphasized how lower-income and rural people are being disproportionately affected by inflation. Rural Americans have seen their spending power drop 5.2% on an annualized basis, compared with 3.5% for urban households, the research found.

One reason they’re being hit so hard is that rural households spend more money on the types of goods that have seen the biggest price increases this year, such as food, energy, cars and household furnishings, Bank of America noted.