AMHERST, NY- The problems in the fields over the summer are now hitting meat counters and popular restaurants.
At Duff's and most other restaurants they're paying twice as much for chicken wings compared to last year.
"To come in for 20 wings and a fry and a pitcher of pop or beer, you're looking at almost $30 and we've heard about it already," said Duff's manager Ed Conley.
Conley says they pay approximately $2.15 per pound of wings, compared to $1.09 last year. As a result, Duff's had to raise their wing prices a few weeks ago. Customers were paying $9.95 and now they're paying $10.95 for a single order. That's more than $1 a wing. A double order went from $17.95 to $18.95.
"We don't want to raise our prices. We want to keep them as low as possible, but our cost goes up with everything," Conley said.
Matt Kaufman from Retail and Food Service Broker Acosta says poultry, pork and beef prices are the worst he's seen them. This summer's drought, which damaged crops and increased the cost of feeding livestock, has created the perfect storm for food prices.
"Fuel being at an all time high, soybean being at an all time high, corn is twice the price it was a year ago. Corn is the major feed for cattle. It's the major feed pork, and it's the major feed for poultry as well is really the reason why things have gotten so out of control," said Acosta.
How out of control is it?
"On average most of our manufacturers are taking anywhere from a 2-4% price increase across the board," he said.
Kaufman says prices are expected to stay this high for at least another year, and consumers will certainly feel in the supermarket and restaurants.
"The good restaurateurs out there know that they have to raise their prices to make money because otherwise they're going to have to close their doors," said Acosta.
Duff's fortunately hasn't seen business decline as prices are going up, but the same can't be said for all.
"The small places, the mom and pop places will suffer more trying to get out a product that's profitable for them," said Conley.
The USDA says consumers will really start to see a hit to the wallet when they buy meat around the end of October. Then as we begin to prepare for holiday baking, the price of milk and eggs is also expected to rise. By next, nearly every aisle in the grocery store will see higher prices.
The USDA predicts the price of all food to rise between 2.5% and 3.5% through the end of the year. Next year, it is possible food prices will rise by as much as 4% as the effects of the drought sink in. More USDA estimates are as follows:
-- Beef and veal will rise between 3.5% and 4.5% in 2012, and by as much as 5% next year.
-- Pork will rise between 2% and 3% this year, and up to 3.5% next year.
-- Dairy products will rise by 3% this year and 4.5% next year.