Food truck owners may catch a break on the price of gasoline, baked goods and sweets as the Thanksgiving-Christmas season approaches, thanks to a sudden tumble in worldwide commodity markets.
The consumer price outlook has brightened, in part, because commodity speculators have fled the energy and grain markets in the face of fears of a global recession triggered by the current European debt crisis.
The price of regular gasoline dropped last week to a national average of $3.41 a gallon. This is down about 15% since it peaked in May near $4 a gallon. The Department of Energy forecasts gas prices will not rise sharply again until spring.
The price of crude oil has yet to reset itself since it shot up over $110 per barrel last spring, due to unrest in the Middle East and the tsunami that hit Japan, although it has fallen to less than $76 as of last week.
Flour prices have risen more than 50% this year, but they should fall in coming months, as the price of wheat has tumbled 25% since last summer, according to the Chicago Board of Trade.
The price of wheat shot up from less than $6 a bushel in early 2010 to about $9 by the beginning of this year based on worldwide shortages.
On the sweets front, the price of cocoa is down about 15% from record levels since midsummer, according to the International Cocoa Organization, raising the possibility that manufacturer costs for making chocolate might ease.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but not all the consumer price news is positive. Food prices rose in August, according to the latest U.S. government report. And while food trucks which specialize in menu items with pasta and baked items might see prices coming down, those with heavy beef based menus should brace for continued high prices.
Prices for hamburger and choice beef cuts have risen 15% to 20% this year, according to the Department of Agriculture. Cattle supplies began 2011 at 50-year lows because of high feed costs and have grown tighter as ranchers reduce their herds in response to drought and record heat.
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