Although food companies and restaurant operators are trying to keep from increasing prices due to rising commodity and transportation costs, wary U.S. consumers are bracing to pay more for their food in 2011.

Historically, consumers have never let food costs rise faster than their incomes and have managed their food spending accordingly, whether choosing to eat at home or away from home, according to food market research by The NPD Group.

“With food inflation accelerating in the last months of 2010 and government forecasts show it continuing into at least the first half of 2011, Americans will be making well-thought out choices this year on how they will feed themselves,” says Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst at NPD and author of Eating Patterns in America. “It amounts to ‘relative food inflation.’ They have so much to spend on food and they will carefully pick-and-choose how they spend it. Looking for more coupons and discounts, buying more private label foods, eating more leftovers, and generally getting the most bang for their buck.”

To read the entire article, link here.