Exclusive poll: Costly food a 'hardship'

LOS ANGELES Prices on our favorite food items are growing like weeds, and suddenly we're all paying more at the store.

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From one year ago, large eggs have boiled up nearly 35 percent. Flour is worse rising 37 percent. Whole milk is moving up 23 percent. Tomatoes are stewing with an 18 percent hike. And whole fresh chicken is squawking at a price almost 10 percent higher.

It's enough to make you want to do something to lower the food bill, and according to our exclusive Survey U.S.A. Eyewitness News poll, consumers are.

Surprisingly, 55 percent of shoppers have stopped buying some standard grocery items because of high food prices.

Coupons have become a staple for 57 percent of shoppers.

Twenty percent of consumers say grocery prices have become a serious hardship with another 56 percent saying it's a moderate hardship.

So what's causing this to happen all at once? High oil and gas prices can be blamed for some of it, since truckers are paying more to transport our food. More corn is being grown, but it's for ethanol fuel, so there is less farmland for other foods. Poor weather has contributed smaller crops, and the world's population is growing faster than food production.

In the meantime, let's figure out how to trim your food bill:

  • Buy dried instead of canned -- with cans you're paying for water
  • Eat seasonally -- fruits and vegetables are less expensive in season
  • Supplement fresh produce with inexpensive frozen veggies
  • Buy generic brands
  • Clip and use coupons


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