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Why is the cost of food rising so rapidly?

Can you afford those oranges? Steep food prices are causing many shoppers to re-evaluate their grocery lists.

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­How many calories did you eat today? If you overindulged and packed in a few hundred extra calories, you may be one reason behind the prohibitively high price of food in 2008. Food prices have jumped more tha­n 80 percent in three years, according to the World Bank, and their meteoric rise doesn't show signs of stopping, not least because of people eating excess calories.

Don't feel too bad though. The biofuel market played a role, too. When the agricultural industry has recently faced the decision of filling up bellies or gas tanks, gas tanks have often won out. That's ratcheted up the demand and, consequently, the price for corn and other crops such as soybeans and potatoes that can serve as both food (either for us or for live­stock) and fuel. Add in a few ill-timed floods, droughts and other acts of weather vengeance, and you're looking at a multifaceted explanation to the huge and growing problem of how to feed 6.7 billion hungry mouths.

­To learn what governments, global organizations and people like you and me are doing to try to solve the problem, read Why is the cost of food rising so rapidly?

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