Food prices aren't as critical for most Americans as they are in other, less prosperous parts of the world. But by staying aware of the implications of falling food prices, you can position yourself to take maximum advantage -- and to avoid some of the pitfalls that may lurk in your portfolio.
A huge move in the prices of some popular food items could have big implications for the global economy -- as well as the investments you have in your portfolio.
The latest on food
The USDA recently gave its final report on the harvest in 2011. With the news that the U.S. had a whopping 844 million bu. of corn in surplus storage -- nearly 100 million more than had been expected -- grain prices plummeted.
The carnage wasn't limited to corn. Wheat fell sharply, posting a near-6% loss by the end of trading at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Soybean futures also dropped almost 3%.
Why it matters
The prices that Americans have paid on food have been rising substantially in recent years. In 2011 alone, the cost of staple meats like ground beef and turkey rose more than 10%. Groceries from milk and ice cream to potatoes and apples also jumped double-digit percentages last year.