Menus Could Change Due To Rising Food Prices - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Menus Could Change Due To Rising Food Prices

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BOZEMAN -

Economists say the price of some types of food is more than 10% higher than what they were at this time last year.

Julia Steinbach owns a catering company that operates the kitchen of the Madison Crossing Lounge in West Yellowstone.

She has worked in the food industry for over 20 years and said she has never seen food prices this high.

"Beef is probably the highest increase right now and it's also one of the most important ingredients on our menu," said Steinbach.

Right now, she said they are evaluating their menu and trying to figure out ways they can cut costs.

"We're having to get very creative and look at cheaper cuts of meat," said Steinbach.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, food prices have increased 0.4% after a similar jump in February.

Beef, pork, eggs and milk have seen the most dramatic price increase.

Montana State University Economist, Vince Smith said we are seeing these jump in food prices because of the 15-month drought in California and the virus outbreak in the hog population that has killed thousands of pigs over the last year.

"Hogs can build resistance to the current disease they're facing and there are some ways to mitigate the effects of the disease," said Smith. "So, hopefully six months from now the hogs situation will improve."

Smith said the high prices may be here for a while.

"I think we're looking at a long-run trends," said Smith. "Beef prices are going to stay at relatively high levels simply because this is a long-run supply and demand."

And for Steinbach, she may have to make some changes.

"We might have to increase some of our prices," said Steinbach.

The Denver-based company, Chipotle announced on Thursday because of the high price of beef; they will start increasing their menu prices.

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