Late last week, Hershey hiked its prices, saying that it had to do so because of significant increases in the cost of cocoa, corn sweeteners, sugar, and peanuts. The wholesale prices are an average of 10% higher, and it's almost inevitable that consumers will pay the toll soon when they buy candy at the grocery store.

The prices on the ingredients responsible for the hike have gone up between 20% and 45% since the beginning of 2008, says a company representative. That is huge. Imagine running a business and having your cost to produce your good or service increase that dramatically, almost overnight!

The good news in all of this? You just might be tempted to avoid that candy bar based up on the price. Maybe you'll even decide to have a healthier snack in its place. Although based upon increase in food prices across the board, you probably won't find much health food at cheap pricees in the grocery store. Maybe you should take your money, go buy some seeds, and plant a garden instead!

Tracy L. Coenen, CPA, MBA, CFE performs fraud examinations and financial investigations for her company Sequence Inc. Forensic Accounting, and is the author of Essentials of Corporate Fraud.

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