College students already on tight budgets, will be forced to pay more this year when shopping for produce at their local grocery store or market. With unemployment at 8.2 percent and close to 50 percent of recent college graduates without jobs, the rise in food prices will significantly impact young adults just starting their lives.
Killer droughts reducing crop sizes in the Midwest have already affected food prices ranging from corn and soy beans, to the price of even meat, milk and vegetable oil. The severe conditions affecting these crops are caused by the prolonged heat and lack of rain this summer.
Because corn and soybean products are prevalent in various food products, food prices will necessarily skyrocket this year.
Both corn and soy bean prices have such a harsh domino effect on other parts of the food market because farmers typically use both to feed chickens, pigs and cows—which also leads to higher meat prices.
In many instances, the increases in food prices are in the double digits; already this year, corn futures are up a stunning 48.5 percent, soy beans are up 31.2 percent and wheat is up 46.5 percent since May 31. This is the second straight year food prices will be above the average 2.9 percent increase per year, after coming off a 4.8 percent increase in 2011, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Increases in food prices disproportionately affect the poor, where the bottom 20 percent of earners can often times spend up to a quarter of their income on food, while wealthier Americans typically only spend up to ten percent. Many college students usually fall into the lower income category, whether they are working through school or not.
The shortage of crops is expected to be felt worldwide because the U.S. is the world’s largest exporter of grain.
As a result, African and Middle Eastern countries are now seeing painful increases in their import bills, according to Reuters.