The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a report late last week predicting an increase in food prices, especially among animal products. That's thanks to a hard crop year in the Midwest, where droughts drove corn and soybean prices up. Those two items have a domino effect on all other food prices, including meat and dairy, as corn and soybeans are used for animal feed.
Among the predictions: Beef and veal will rise by an estimated 5 percent by 2013, pork will rise 3.5 percent and dairy will rise 4.5 percent during the same period.
Couple that with the premium health food seekers pay for farmer's market fare and organic staples, and you're looking at one whopper of a grocery bill. So what can you do? Here are some top tips to keep food prices down and quality up.