The Consumer Price Index for all foodincreased 2.3 percent in 2000 and should rise about the same amountin 2001, say University of Georgia experts. After near-recordgrowth last year, beef and pork price increases are expected toslow. Other food items should see only small increases.”The slowing economy during the last quarter of 2000 is aforecast of a slower rate of economic growth during 2001,”said Bill Thomas, an agricultural economist with the UGA Collegeof Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. “Because farm commodities account for only 20 cents of eachretail food dollar, it’s more important to look at what’s happeningin the rest of the economy than to focus on farm prices,”Thomas said.What’s Driving Cost? Photo:USDA Americans can expect food prices to rise about 2 percent to 3 percent during 2001. Higher energy prices last year won’t necessarilytranslate into higher food prices, because transportation andenergy costs are small components of the total food marketingbill.”The total marketing bill equals 80 cents for every dollarconsumers spend on food,” Thomas said. “Transportationcosts are 4 percent and energy costs 3.5 percent of the marketingbill. If energy costs continue to be this high through 2001, another0.2 percent could be added to the rate of inflation in food.”Food price changes are a key to determining the portion of consumers’income that is spent on food. In 1999, consumers spent 10.4 percentof their household disposable income on food, with 6.2 percentfor food at home and 4.2 percent for food away from home. “During 2001, the long-run downward trend should continue,resulting in consumer expenditures for food amounting to only10.3 percent of their income,” Thomas said.Item-by-item CostThomas and other UGA economists make theseforecasts for individual food sectors:Meat Products: A booming economy continues to fuel demand for meatproducts, and overall meat prices were up 5.6 percent in 2000.Large meat supplies should limit gains to 3 percent to 4 percentin 2001.Fish and seafood: Prices should climb 2 percent to 3 percent in2001. A strong domestic economy is boosting sales in the restaurantand food-service sectors, which claim a growing share of totalseafood sales.Eggs: Prices will rise as much as 1 percent in 2001. Higherproduction levels and slower growth in exports have led to lowerretail prices the past four years.Dairy products: The CPI is expected to increase 1 percentto 2 percent in 2001. Strong consumer demand for gourmet ice cream,cheese and butterfat products, is expected to continue into 2001.Fresh fruits: It’s too early to know the full impact ofthe freezes in Florida on citrus prices. However, continued demandfor fresh fruits and normal production levels for major fruitsin the United States should boost the fresh-fruit CPI 2 percentto 3 percent in 2001.Fresh vegetables: After low farm prices in 1999, farmersreduced acreage in 2000, and prices climbed. Farmers took note, and shipments are expected to decline during 2001. Assuming normal weather and continued strong demand, the fresh-vegetable CPI should increase 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Processed fruits and vegetables: Adequate supplies of mostfruits and vegetables for processing is expected to limit theCPI increase to 2 percent to 3 percent in 2001.Sugar and sweets: Relatively low inflation, along withincreased production and lower retail for selected sugar-relatedfood items, is expected to limit the index increase to 1.5 percentto 2.5 percent in 2001.Cereal and bakery: With grain prices lower this year andinflation-related processing costs modest, the CPI is forecastto rise 2 percent to 3 percent. Most of the costs to produce cerealand bread products — more than 90 percent in most cases — arefor processing and marketing. Grain and other farm ingredientsaccount for a fraction of the total cost.Nonalcoholic beverages: The CPI is forecast to rise 2 percentto 3 percent. Prices of coffee and carbonated drinks, which accountfor 28 and 38 percent of the index, rose 3 percent (coffee) and4 percent (soft drinks) in 2000. Recent near-record arabica beanproduction in Brazil should lead to larger U.S. stocks and continuedmoderate consumer prices.
GCE Subsea informed that Statoil has come onboard as a new industry partner in the GCE Subsea Cluster.“Being the largest company in Norway and one of the most capable and competent subsea companies in the world it is of great importance, and a great pleasure, to announce our partnership,” said Owe Hagesæther, CEO of GCE Subsea.“Statoil values the clusters national and international network and their driving role in industry driven R&D and innovation processes,” said Stein Olav Drange, vice president Technology Management in Statoil. “We also focus on building relations with the Oceans Industries Incubator and the Startup and ScaleUp programmes and companies in GCE Subsea, and believe that GCE Subsea will prove to be a useful arena for innovation relevant to our value chain.”GCE Subsea has 23 partners within industry, R&D, academia and public offices.The cluster’s main hub is located at the Coast Center Base at Ågotnes west of Bergen, one of the largests bases for subsea aftermarket activities.“GCE Subsea is one of Norway’s three Global Centres of Expertise representing most professional and important industry. We are excited to have Statoil onboard as a partner. This will strengthen the cluster significantly, and add force to our effort implementing our strategy for the Norwegian subsea industry,” Hagesæther said.