Corn Prices: Now It's Getting Serious

And we thought movie popcorn was so expensive because the theater owners hosed us and sold us a bag worth three cents and a pop worth five cents for nine bucks because they could. Now we find out that the poor guys are crying in their Coke because ethanol is driving up corn prices. "I've never seen something quite like this," said American Pop Corn [maker of Jolly Time] president Garrett Smith, who's been in the business for three decades. He had to pay farmers almost 70 per cent more this spring than last year to grow his popcorn and has had to boost prices for movie theatre popcorn and jars of unpopped corn.

Mr. Smith is being walloped by higher soy prices as well, the second-biggest ingredient the company uses. Those prices have been rising too as farmers switch into corn crops. "It's a double whammy," he says. "It's a tough thing if you're trying to buy an alternative crop like we are." ::Globe and Mail

UPDATE: It's hitting our ice cream too! From the Times Online:

What's the connection between ethanol, the biofuel produced from corn, and a cherry vanilla ice-cream?

Answer: the first is responsible for pushing up the price of the other.

This month, the price of milk in the United States surged to a near-record in part because of the increasing costs of feeding a dairy herd. The corn feed used to feed cattle has almost doubled in price in a year as demand has grown for the grain to produce ethanol.

Christina Seid, whose family have been making ice-cream at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for 28 years, said yesterday that she expected to have to raise her prices, along with all competitors in the short term. "We are holding out as long as we can, but prices will rise," Ms Seid said. ::Times Online