CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — If you’ve noticed your grocery bills creeping up over the last year, you’re not alone.
Grocery and supermarket food prices in Feb. 2021 were 3.5% percent higher in the U.S. than in Feb. 2020, and they’re expected to continue rising in 2021, according to the Consumer Price Index for Food from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
For a family of four, that is around $500 a year. The price increases are on everything from cereal to dairy to meats to eggs.
Food at restaurants was also up 3.7% for the same time period. According to USDA data, this year, grocery prices are expected to increase between 1-2%, and restaurant prices are expected to increase between 2-3%.
“Despite these predicted increases, inflation for all food categories is expected to be at or below their 20-year historical averages—except for nonalcoholic beverages and other foods,” the USDA said in a statement.
Fresh fruit saw the highest price increase, while beef and veal saw the largest decrease of less than 1%.
General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, announced it’s raising prices to offset higher freight manufacturing. Hormel is raising prices on products like Jennie-O ground turkey because of higher grain costs. Even the cost of a jar of Jif peanut butter is higher than a year ago, NewsNation affiliate WYSR-TV reported.
“We had a suspicion that prices were going to go up. But I don’t think we realized how bad it was going to be,” said Patrick Penfield, Professor of Supply Chain Practice at Syracuse University.
Experts say there are ways to keep your shopping costs low:
- Stock up
- Watch for sales
- Look at prices at smaller stores