Are food prices heading down?

"Food industry input costs" fell almost 1% last week, "the 7th decline in the last 8 weeks," 12th of the last 16, writes veteran food-industry analyslt Jonathan P. Feeney, now of of Atlhos Research, Wayne. More hogs on the market, record soybean crops and low summer natural-gas prices outweighed stronger dairy, grain and coffee demand to drive down overall costs.

His Feeney's Food Cost Factor index has fallen to around 130 (on a scale of 1/1/2006 = 100), down from 140 last fall and over 160 in the spring of 2011, when rising demand from China and elsewhere pushed prices higher in American supermarkets, too.

Recent commodity price movements translate to higher prices at specialty-commodiy-dependent companies like Green Mountain Coffee and Hershey, but lower prices for products sold by grain- and sugar-dependent Lance snacks, Coca-Cola and Flowers Foods (they own Tastykake), vs. a year ago.