You might think that since consumer prices have tumbled by near record percentages that this might lead to lower food prices. But much of that consumer price decline is attributable to lower energy prices -- after all oil peaked at $147 a barrel in July only to fall 63.5% to $53.63 yesterday.
Why won't food prices follow oil down? Many food producers panicked as corn and wheat prices peaked this summer -- locking in long term supply contracts at top prices. For instance, corn, which usually trades at $2 or $3 a bushel, pealed at $8 a bushel in June.
Although prices have since dropped to $3.50 a bushel, some food manufacturers locked in prices for corn and other commodities in the spring and summer, fearing that prices could go even higher. The result is that producers will pass on those higher costs in the form of food prices going up 7% to 9% in 2009.