I am worried. Listening to stories and reading news articles about the current drought in the U.S., it seems the experts are in agreement: food prices will be going up over the next couple years. When it comes to our favorite fast food staple, the hamburger, declining corn yields will lead to less feed for livestock. This, in turn, leads to lower livestock available for the beef market.
Experts believe U.S. consumers will begin to feel the pinch in their pocketbooks in 2013 and the higher costs will likely extend into 2014, depending upon the severity and duration of the drought.
I’ve got to think that there is a ceiling on fast food prices, above which people will turn to other food options (sit down, eat at home.) So it will be interesting to watch the industry react – will we see smaller menu items for the same price as current larger offerings? Simple across the board price jumps? Or something else? Keep in mind, soft drinks, desserts, etc. also often contain corn as a sweetener (corn syrup) so expect your beverage to take a hit as well. Perhaps discontinued discounts on larger beverages, like McDonald’s any-size-drink-for-$1 promo. Free refills go away? I doubt it. But pretty scary stuff to think about.