Food prices up in February

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices rose .4 percent in the month of February. That represents the largest single-month increase since September 2011, and is due to higher meat and dairy prices as well as a persistant drought in agricultural areas of California.

Futures prices on hogs are up more than 70 percent so far this year, according to the Wall Street Journal, in part due to fears over the new Porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus. Strong demand from Asia has contributed to rising dairy prices.

USDA estimates that food retail prices will rise by between 2.5 and 3.5 percent this year.