If you thought your grocery tab was high in 2012, brace yourself because this year will be even worse- but that just means there are stocks to buy now that will let you cash in on higher food prices.
Last year's drought drove up prices of grains such as corn, wheat and soybeans. Soybean prices jumped 40% earlier in 2012 while wheat prices soared about 50%. Prices declined in the fall as crops were harvested, but remained elevated.
Because of the higher prices of animal feed such as corn and soymeal, many ranchers had to slaughter animals earlier than planned. This caused a brief bump up in meat supplies in 2012, but threatens to lead to tight meat supplies and higher prices in 2013.
The Livestock Information Center in Denver forecasts that this year's U.S. beef production will come in at 24.8 billion pounds - the lowest level since 2005.
In 2014, the Livestock Information Center forecasts only 23.6 billion pounds of beef will be on the market - the lowest level since 1993.
And Larry Pope, the CEO of the world's largest pork producer, Smithfield Foods Inc. (NYSE: SFD), told the Financial Times in 2012 he thought pork and chicken would soon join beef on the list of increasingly expensive meats.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts food prices overall will increase 3.5% to 4% in 2013.
However, like most government estimates, those could be on the low end due to these three main factors driving higher prices.