Food prices are higher, but how much higher?
You can look it up at the Department of Labor, but so you don't have to, here's how things break down:
Cereal and bakery products: prices increased 1.3% in March for baked goods from the month before; bread increased 2.1%. That may not sound too terrible, but bread is 14.7% more costly than it was a year ago.
Dairy products: Good news on milk prices: they fell 2.2% from February. Yeah! But the cloud in the silver lining is that dairy products are still 13.3% higher than they were in March 2007.
Meat, poultry, fish and eggs: Virtually unchanged since February. That's as a group. Beef and chicken did go up (the Consumer Price Index doesn't say how much), while pork, fish and other seafood went down. So check out those fish sticks, if you're looking for a bargain.
Nonalcoholic beverages and for other food at home: There was an increase of 0.3% and 0.1%.
Food away from home: an increase of .3%
If all this depresses the heck out of you and want to drown your sorrows in a stiff drink...hey, you're in luck. Prices for alcoholic beverages declined by .1%.
Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America (Rodale).