Food costs going up just like everything else

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Department of labor report released this morning shows what you probably feared -- an increase in costs just about everywhere you look.

This probably doesn't come as a surprise, but one of the areas hit hardest -- a necessity for all of us -- food.

Costs are soaring at levels not seen in 17 years.

With every trip you make to the grocery store expect a higher number at the bottom of your receipt.

U.S. food prices rose four percent in 2007, that's compared with an average annually of just two-and-a-half for the last 15 years, and 2008 is looking to rise even more at four-and-a-half percent.

Here in the south the Bureau of Labor shows things even more grim: As of February the inflation rate was 4.6 percent overall for the south and 5.1 specifically for food and beverages.

An increase local shoppers are definitely noticing.

Kathy Carter says, "I've noticed that esp in milk, eggs and cheese went up sky high. we can barely afford milk now"

Just how much more?

The Knoxville chamber compiles a comparison of five grocery stores quarterly.

While the price of a loaf of bread, sugar, potatoes and a t-bone steak is actually down here at home ... everything else is up.

You're looking at an over 50-percent increase in a half gallon of milk ... 37 percent increase in eggs ... and that morning cup of Joe is gonna cost you too .. coffee is up 35 percent.

But groceries aren't the only thing the labor report shows steadily increasing.

Prices at the pump are 4.4 percent higher than the previous peak level recorded in may of last year ... medical costs are 4.6 percent higher than a year ago and energy prices up 2.9 percent -- Leaving everyone keeping their fingers crossed and trying to find new ways to save.

Carter says, "I just wish the economy would help us like we're trying to help them"

You can see the entire 19 page Department of Labor report, as well as those local food comparisons provided to us by the Knoxville chamber, by logging onto our web channel and clicking on the hot key.

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