Food inflation hits Hershey's as cocoa price hike announced

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(NaturalNews) There seems to be no end in sight for beleaguered American consumers, as prices for just about everything -- especially necessities -- continue to rise.

And now, that includes chocolate, which of course contains mood-boosting antioxidants. In recent weeks, Hershey's announced a whopping 8 percent increase in prices for all of its products, including Kisses, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, Kit Kats and its characteristic pure chocolate bar.

Why the dramatic increase? For the same reasons that the costs of so many other basic food necessities are rising: more expensive ingredients, higher utility costs and higher transportation costs.

Company President Michele Buck said that costs of cocoa, dairy and nuts have "increased meaningfully" since the beginning of the year, and she expects that the trend will continue into 2015, according CNN/Money, which added:

A growing demand for chocolate in emerging markets combined with recent bad weather in major cocoa producing countries have also led to supply issues.

According to CNN/Money, here are nine additional things that you will pay more for this year, if they apply to you:

Satellite and cable TV: Not all Americans have this kind of television service, but if you're one who does, expect to see price hikes of anywhere from $2 to $5 per month, as both DirecTV and Dish Network plan increases on nearly all of their packages.

They say the reason they must hike prices is because television networks are charging them more.

Nuts: A poor crop combined with soaring consumer demand equals the perfect recipe for much higher prices for one of the country's favorite snack foods.

A wet, cold winter in the U.S. melded with frost and heavy rains during Spain's prime growing season, and that hurt global almond supplies for certain, said a Department of Agriculture report last November.

In addition, pistachio crops were also smaller, as was U.S. walnut production.

Overall, wholesale nut and seed prices were driven 9 percent higher during the first 11 months of 2013.

And demand is up.

Mail: Who would imagine that a tiny, square piece of paper would cost so much? In January, the U.S. Postal Service raised the price of a basic stamp from 46 cents to 49 cents.

The three-cent hike is the largest in years, and it includes a penny to keep up with inflation. The additional two cents is supposed to be just a temporary increase, to help the Postal Service recoup losses that it incurred during the Great Recession.

The service reported a $5 billion loss in the most recent fiscal year and $16 billion in losses in 2012.

Your home: If you're looking to buy a home in 2014, you can expect to pay more, because after years of declines, home prices are on the rebound.

At the same time, it will cost more to borrow; an average of $60 more a month per $100,000 borrowed, due to higher interest rates.

Rent: Housing will get you coming and going this year. If you're not buying a home, never fear -- rent will cost more, too.

Market research firm Axiometrics predicts that apartment rents nationwide will rise 3.1% from 2013's average of $1,107 a month, or even more if hiring picks up, CNN/Money reported.

"We have so much pent up demand, so many kids that are prime renter age living at home," said Axiometrics president Ron Johnsey. "If the economy recovers better than we are forecasting, then they can become renters."

Honey: Once again, lousy weather conditions coupled with dwindling bee populations, due to a condition known as Colony Collapse Disorder, have dramatically reduced U.S. honey production in recent years. At the same time, consumer demand is rising as well, so prices are going north.

Public transportation: It pays to be green -- sort of. Higher fuel costs are going to push up the price of taking the bus or other mass transit in 2014. The Northwest corridor will be hit the hardest; commuters in many cities there can expect to pay about $20 more a month for a pass.

Healthcare: Despite President Obama's promises that healthcare would cost less due to Obamacare, that's not reality. Healthcare premiums, especially, are going to rise (because insurance companies are mandated by the law to cover more things, as part of the government's basic coverage requirements). Look for average hikes of 7 percent.

Taxes: Yes, taxes. Dozens of tax credits and other benefits expired on December 31.


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