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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -
If you're one of those receipt hawks at the grocery store, you may be seeing some changes soon.
Food prices are expected to go up and you can blame the weather. Specifically, serious drought conditions.
Natalie Ferguson buys organic which is why for a family of three her monthly household grocery bill hovers around $900.
Natalie Ferguson said, "I look at quality first price second meats being on sale is always a bonus, usually one of our most expensive." And she's noticed prices for other items steadily climbing.
Natalie Ferguson said, "I noticed eggs gone up about 50 cents a dozen."
The cost is going up even more because of a nationwide drought. The cycle starts with severely dry conditions creating bad crops.
That drives up the price of feed, so livestock aren't eating as much. The less they eat, the less they produce. Lower supply is another factor raising the price. The U-S Department of Agriculture expects an increase of three and a half to five percent.
Bob Robicheaux, marketing professor at UAB said, "That's significant, way above the inflation rate."
Robicheaux expects you'll not only notice the increase but you may have to make some tough spending decisions because of it.
Robicheaux said, "If you have three and half to five percent increase on food like milk and bread that means you'll have to take away from something else, which is probably going to be recreation and entertainment."
Some people may end up buying more generic items to make up for spending more on meats and dairy products.
Neil Ross is one shopper who has thought about how he'll adjust, "I'll cut back on protein, which wouldn't be a bad thing for health anyway, eat more vegetables."
So here's the good news of it all. Food makers buy in advance and lock in prices, so the prices will remain the same for now.
The higher prices are not expected to kick-in until next quarter, which is the end of this year into early 2013.