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Food Costs Rising as Coke, Chipotle Pass on Commodity Gains

Food prices in the U.S. may be rising faster than the government forecast as companies including Coca-Cola Co., Safeway Inc. and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. pass higher commodity costs on to consumers.

Rallies in meat, grain and dairy products since February may mean the increase in food costs will surpass the 3 percent to 4 percent that the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts, said Christopher Hurt, an agricultural economist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The USDA today left its forecast for this year’s gains unchanged and said 2012 prices will increase 2.5 to 3.5 percent.