Food is going to start getting very expensive, very soon. We are approaching a perfect storm. this Spring/Summer. Here are some of the reasons:
1) Gasoline prices are going up. This will affect food prices every step of the way, from planting, growing, harvesting, shipping, processing, shipping, and retail.
2) China is having a wheat crop failure. They will be buying huge amounts of grain this year. Russia, Australia and Argentina are all having poor crops this year due to drought and weather.
3) Egypt is a huge grain importer. It's people eat large amounts of bread. How likely do you think it is that the generals in charge of Egypt will be trying to get its hands on as much wheat as possible to placate the Egyptian people?
4) There are grumblings that the recent cold weather has devastated Mexican produce crops.
5) Ethanol. Not only is the diversion of corn into ethanol affecting corn prices, it is also affecting beef and chicken prices, because corn is such a big part of animal feed.
This is going to be a very bad year for the world's poor. (and I am not including the "poor" in the United States) I predict widespread starvation and social unrest.
Update 6:31 AM 2/15/11: It is getting worse.
Update 11:12 PM 2/15/11: "Global food prices have hit "dangerous levels" that could contribute to political instability, push millions of people into poverty and raise the cost of groceries, according to a new report from the World Bank." H/T Instapundit