U.S. consumer prices surged 0.8% last month, which is the largest monthly jump in more than a decade.The increase in prices has been building for months during the COVID-19 pandemic and is really being reflected now in the cost of food.Kenny Myers, of Kegel’s Produce in Pennsylvania, estimates his prices have gone up 10% to 15% in the last year.Kegel’s has absorbed most of those costs.”We have eaten it for so long, and now it’s to the point where we can no longer. We have to pass it on,” Myers said.Fuel costs are driving prices higher for packaging and transportation. ”There’s a problem with drivers. There’s a lack of drivers coming from the West Coast to the East Coast,” Myers said. Most of the food product being sold right now on the East Coast is coming from the Deep South and the West. As we get into the growing season on the East Coast, the supplies there are expected to increase.”I think that’ll help alleviate a lot of the transportation issues once the local season comes in,” Myers said.But the growing season also relies on transient labor, and workers are hard to find for all industries.”It’s a tight labor market. A lot of transient labor coming in to help us get planted, cared for and harvest. The availability of that is already an issue and we’re only in May,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said.Food industry analysts also said crop failures in China are pushing food prices higher, as the Chinese markets are buying record amounts of grain to make up for their shortfall.

U.S. consumer prices surged 0.8% last month, which is the largest monthly jump in more than a decade.

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The increase in prices has been building for months during the COVID-19 pandemic and is really being reflected now in the cost of food.

Kenny Myers, of Kegel’s Produce in Pennsylvania, estimates his prices have gone up 10% to 15% in the last year.

Kegel’s has absorbed most of those costs.

“We have eaten it for so long, and now it’s to the point where we can no longer. We have to pass it on,” Myers said.

Fuel costs are driving prices higher for packaging and transportation. 

“There’s a problem with drivers. There’s a lack of drivers coming from the West Coast to the East Coast,” Myers said.

Most of the food product being sold right now on the East Coast is coming from the Deep South and the West. As we get into the growing season on the East Coast, the supplies there are expected to increase.

“I think that’ll help alleviate a lot of the transportation issues once the local season comes in,” Myers said.

But the growing season also relies on transient labor, and workers are hard to find for all industries.

“It’s a tight labor market. A lot of transient labor coming in to help us get planted, cared for and harvest. The availability of that is already an issue and we’re only in May,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said.

Food industry analysts also said crop failures in China are pushing food prices higher, as the Chinese markets are buying record amounts of grain to make up for their shortfall.

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