BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Sarah Nokleby used to be able to feed her five kids on $150 a week. Now it costs at least $200 per week, the Boise resident says.
Food prices are trending higher, with beef setting back buyers some 10 percent more since last August, according to The Idaho Statesman (http://bit.ly/nCtyGS). Fish and seafood prices have risen more than 8 percent.
That means more Idaho residents are cutting back on luxury food items like chips and ice cream because they say the rising cost of groceries is taking a bigger bite out of their pocketbooks.
"We've pretty much given up on ice cream," Nokleby said. "We don't do chips unless it's a special occasion."
But even the daily necessities have become tougher to afford. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says dairy prices have risen more than 9 percent between August 2010 and August 2011, with pork rising 7.5 percent and eggs seeing a 14.5 percent increase in price. U.S. retail coffee prices were up 20 percent from August 2010.
Nokleby has resorted to buying two newspapers every Sunday for the coupons. She's also buying some of her food in bulk to help take the pressure off her purse.
"I have 80 pounds coming in two weeks," she said of a shipment of chicken and beef that's arriving soon, for which she'll pay $1.49 a pound. "You have to separate it, wrap it and freeze it. But it's worth it. Then you have it for several months."
The increase in food costs come after extreme weather -- lack of rain in some places and too much in others -- affected growers from Texas to Australia. On one day alone in September, the USDA designated 86 counties in four states as natural disaster areas because of weather damage to crops.
Colder-than-normal weather in Brazil was a factor behind higher prices for coffee, a staple for many.
Federal officials expect prices to keep rising even as farmers produce more staples like corn, wheat and soy. It will take months for any lower commodity prices to have an effect at the store checkout counter or on restaurant menus.
Chef John Berryhill, owner of Berryhill & Co., said he's noticed the price of grass-fed beef has been on the rise in the past few months -- driven up by grain prices. He said prices usually rise in the fall as vegetables go out of season.
"When food costs go up, you've got to make adjustments" like raising prices, cutting portion sizes or reducing staff pay, said Dave Krick, owner of the Bitter Creek Ale House and Red Feather Lounge in Boise.
Sandy Tracy, another Boise resident, said she's skipped dental care and new glasses, so that she can keep her teenage son fed and clothed.
"There are times where I'm juggling our budget, and I'm going, 'OK, we have to buy food, we really do,'" Tracy said. "I don't get a raise, but all the groceries got a raise."
Copyright 2011 The AP.