Speak Up is a series of blogs where CommonGround volunteers from all over the U.S. speak up to answer questions from consumers.

Why do food prices go up at times?  Carrie Divine, CommonGround volunteer in Kentucky, represents the seventh generation to farm row crops and cattle on her family’s land in Morganfield, Kentucky. She tells us about food prices and the farmer’s share of those dollars in this video:

Food Prices Facts

  • Am I paying too much for food for my family?
    • We’re fortunate in the United States to only have to spend 10 percent of our income on food versus 18-25 percent around the world, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Food in our country remains relatively inexpensive, and we have a wide variety in choices.
  • Do I need to buy the most expensive food to get the best for my family?
    • While organic food prices are often higher than conventional food, there is no difference in nutritional value, according to a review of 400 scientific papers on the health impacts of organic foods, published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.
  • Why do food prices go up at times?
    • The federal government points out that many different factors determine the price of food, ranging from the cost of petroleum and the value of the U.S. dollar to production costs and adverse weather.
  • Are farmers making more money when I pay more at the grocery store?
    • The U.S. farmer’s share of the retail food dollar has been declining for more than 60 years. In 1950, farmers received more than 40 cents for every food dollar that consumers spent in the grocery store. Today, they receive only 19 cents.
    • USDA’s Economic Research Service says the cost of marketing services, including transportation, processing and distribution of farm products, account for a substantial portion of food prices, with the farm value component accounting for the remainder.

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