When 2020 started, USDA economists were forecasting food prices for that year would rise only about half a percent, maybe one and a half; but then came COVID-19. So, as we look back on 2020, we see prices that ended up rising 3.5%; the biggest rise in almost a decade.

This year, USDA Economist, Carolyn Chelius, has made her early year food price inflation forecast for 2021 saying grocery store food prices will rise 1%-2%. But she also reminds us, "there's a lot of uncertainty around tha​t."

First, she pointed out 2021 is only weeks old. Secondly, the coronavirus pandemic is on going, so those uncertainties remain.

"The rate of vaccinations, the rate of cases, the economy and factors like unemployment, wages, consumption patterns," Chelius continued.

Plus, no one knows how the weather will affect food production this year. 
Chelius says there's just a lot of unknowns, making it really difficult to forecast food prices in 2021.

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