Data from the past month has forced the USDA to significantly increase its food price predictions for the year, the highest since 2008.
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You probably don't need the USDA to tell you that food prices are up: You've likely been seeing it in the news and paying for it when you go to the grocery store or dine out. But if you're wondering just how bad things have gotten, the USDA is here to offer some perspective — and last week, their findings were that things are still getting worse.

In their monthly update on the Food Price Outlook for 2022, the USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) explained, "The ranges for 11 food categories, as well as 6 aggregate categories, were revised upward this month," with fresh vegetables being the only category that saw its increase prediction revised slightly downward.

As a result, if current predictions come to pass, annual food inflation would be the highest it's been since 2008, according to Successful Farming. The site also reports that the "all food prices" increase is now a massive 2 points higher than the USDA prediction made just last month.

"Food price increases are expected to be above the increases observed in 2020 and 2021," the USDA wrote. "All food prices are now predicted to increase between 4.5 and 5.5 percent; food-away-from-home prices are predicted to increase between 5.5 and 6.5 percent; and food-at-home prices are predicted to increase between 3.0 and 4.0 percent."

Honing in on specific categories, poultry and fats and oils are facing the biggest jumps. Poultry prices are now predicted to increase between 6 and 7 percent, as are fats and oils. Additionally, dairy specifically got a mention, with the USDA writing, "Rapid increases in the consumption of dairy products have driven increases in retail prices in recent months."

However, the USDA also pointed out that all of these predictions are still in flux. "The impacts of the conflict in Ukraine and the recent increases in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are expected to put upward and downward pressures on food prices, respectively," the USDA wrote. "The situations will be closely monitored to assess the net impacts of these concurrent events on food prices as they unfold."