Industry buzzes about economy at food and agriculture summit

Food inflation is not a concern yet, the World Bank said this week.
Food inflation is not a concern yet, the World Bank said this week.
The economy continued to dominate discussion among industry executives and representatives at the Reuters Food and Agriculture Summit in Chicago and other locations this week.

In Washington, DC on Wednesday, the World Bank said food price inflation is a concern for the global economy, but not nearly as dire as the financial market meltdown.

"I'm not saying there should be no concern. You need to keep a bit of an eye on that. But I don't think we're there yet," the World Bank’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said, according to a report from Reuters. "Inflation worries are a little bit down the road."

Many of the top companies in food service and agriculture were attending the summit in Chicago, along with analysts, economists and members of the media.

Analysts said that consumers, retailers and traders alike are looking for the lowest possible price, although production costs remain high.

Bill Lapp, a consultant and economist, told Reuters that 2008 saw rising consumer prices for pasta, rice, bread and vegetable oil as producers of those products attempted to recoup some of their costs for commodities.

Lapp said inflation will bring higher prices in 2009 for beef, pork, chicken and dairy products as producers adjust their supply downward in response to poor margins, according to Reuters.ADNFCR-2034-ID-19083599-ADNFCR