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According to a report in this morning's USA Today, the cost of food in the united States is expected by economists to rise three percent or more in 2004, adding $270 to consumers' annual food bill - an increase roughly the equivalent of the 2003 increase.

The increase was estimated using Census data and Commerce Department estimates of overall U.S. food expenses, according to the paper. The price hikes are linked to rising prices charged by farmers and increased transportation costs; Mad Cow disease had not yet been discovered in the US when the estimates were made.

"US households on average spent more than $9,000 for food at home and in restaurants in 2002, the third-biggest expenditure after housing and medical care," USA Today writes.
KC's View:
Notable that increased margins for retailers is not listed as one of the reasons for increased food prices.

Notable. But not surprising.