Drought conditions in the U.S. have both New Brunswick businesses and shoppers concerned food prices could jump as much as four per cent next year.

Mike Soucy, owner of Mike's Bakery in Fredericton, buys nearly half a tonne of flour every week. He says he's seen the wholesale price of his business staple fluctuate over the past 12 months.

"I hate to raise the prices, I think it's a sense of fair play type of deal and we hate to do it to the customer but at the end of week, when the prices have to go up they have to go up a bit. You have to make a bit of money to survive," he said.

Soucy says he knows that even wholesalers are hurting because of the widespread drought south of the border.

Crops such as corn and grains have suffered severe damage from weeks of record high temperatures and 30 per cent less rainfall than normal.

According to economists, the poor season will likely translate to higher prices at the grocery store here in Canada.

Last week, Tim Hortons raised the price of some baked goods by five cents.

Consumers will have to adapt

Jane Buckley, a personal financial advisor, says many families will have to make changes to cope with higher prices.

"It used to cost them $400 to feed their families, it's now costing them $600 to $800 to feed their families. Well that other $200 to $400 has to come from somewhere. Where does it come from? Well, it comes from other parts of the budget," Buckley said. 

Buckley advises her clients to check sales flyers, plan meals ahead and shop just once a week or once every two weeks and avoid shopping daily at the market.

"When you go into a store to buy one item, if you are an impulsive person you are not coming out with just one item, you are coming out with three or four or five," she said, "and in some cases the $4 loaf of bread you went into buy turns into a $20 deal. " 

Stacey Boone and  Emma Ackerson watch their grocery bills. Both check the flyers and use coupons.

Boone says, "You have to when you've got two kids."

"I work in a call centre," says Ackerson, "and so they usually have them all posted up, so I usually grab a few of those."

Food producers such as Maple Leaf Foods say its hard to predict when and how much prices will increase. It's likely consumers will see those higher prices reflected in their grocery bill this fall.