Food Price Indexes

Food prices have increased 35 percent since 2009. A look at how extreme weather has affected food prices over the past three years.

Change from 2009 to 2011

Oils

+52%

The worst drought in U.S. history sent soybean prices to record levels last year. The U.S. is the largest producer of soybeans, which are important for their oil and use in animal feed.

Dairy

+41%

Drought and higher-than-average summer temperatures mean less milk. A hot cow is not a happy cow: Stress from the heat along with a diet of dried grass lowers their milk production.

Meat

+35%

Prices have hit records as drought and disease have depleted livestock inventories in many countries. Analysts expect food prices, especially for meat, to continue rising.

Sugar

+29%

In mid-2011 heavy rains in India and Australia and dry weather in Brazil — the world’s three top sugar producers — sent sugar futures to a three-decade high.

Cereals

+29%

Six months of severe rains and flash flooding in 2011 devastated Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter. Average rice export prices in November jumped 5 percent in just one month.

DATA: UNITED NATIONS

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