Consumers can expect the worst U.S. drought in 50 years to cast a shadow across food prices throughout 2013, according to fresh government data released Wednesday. The estimates are the first to capture the effects of this summer’s drought in America’s heartland, and show food prices increasing at a rate well above normal expectations.

“We’re expecting another year of tough food prices, bad news for consumers,” said United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) food economist Richard Volpe.

“The difference between normal and higher than normal in this case is 100 percent attributable to the drought,” Volpe said. The food price index data is released by USDA each month; it is a set of numbers that indicates how much an average shopper is likely to pay at the supermarket.

Normal food inflation has been between 2.5 and 3.5 percent in recent years, Volpe said, and is calculated to include a variety of pushes and pulls on the economy, including fuel prices and the state of the American dollar. That so-called normal inflation rate will largely play out for the rest of this year, all things being equal, he said. The drought will surface in food prices next year.

Click to embiggen. (Image by James West/Climate Desk.)

Climate Desk has illustrated a handful of basic groceries in the graphic above, comparing the average prices for the last full year of data, 2011, with USDA’s projected prices for 2013. While price increases may not seem too severe on the surface, they add up for a family on a budget across a year.