How inflation is impacting prices at the grocery store

Your Money

(NewsNation) — Surging prices at the grocery store are unavoidable thanks to inflation.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices at grocery stores have just kept climbing.

In the last 12 months, they’ve seen the price of meats, poultry, fish and eggs jump nearly 14%. Cereal and bakery products and fruits and vegetables are all up about 9%.

The USDA predicts that grocery store prices will increase between 5% and 6% this year — prices for March were nearly 9% higher than March 2021.

A breakdown of the USDA’s projected price increases:

  • Poultry: 5%
  • Eggs: 6.5%
  • Meat: 5.5%
  • Seafood: 5.5%
  • Dairy: 6.5%
  • Produce: 5.5%
  • Fats, oils: 8.5%
  • Sugars, sweets: 6%

There is some good news, as the most recent data shows that the price of eggs dropped slightly to an average of $2.62 per dozen — that’s down 9 cents from April, when prices surged around Easter.

Grilling season is here, which means an increased demand for meats like burgers and hot dogs — so Americans can expect to pay a little bit more for meat. Economists are keeping a close eye on prices as the United States Department of Agriculture is set to release the latest data on meat prices.

Despite this, consumer spending is rising faster than inflation is — signaling that Americans still want to shop even if it’s at a higher price point.

Price check

Everybody’s food budget is a little different, but NewsNation crunched some numbers and landed on a target of $150 per week for a heartland family of four.

Can you feed your family with that much? How far can we stretch our dollar? And how much are you actually getting for that much cash, compared to a year ago?

Price comparisons for staple items at Trader Joe’s: (The first number is the national average cost per pound, April ’22. The second number is same metric, April ’21)

  • Rice (white, long, uncooked): $.90 vs. $.79
  • Ground chuck: $4.94 vs. $4.29
  • Bacon 1 lb: $7.42 vs. $6.21
  • Sirloin: 10.65 vs. $9.34
  • Chicken: 1.79 vs. $1.51
  • Boneless breasts: $4.09 vs. $3.40
  • Orange juice: $2.77 vs. $2.36
  • Milk (1 gallon): $4.01 vs. $3.44
  • Cheddar cheese: $5.65 vs. $5.44

By the end of the trip, there was about $30 left from the $150 weekly food budget. But some staples did make it into the cart — like flour and bread — and no paper products were purchased.

The comparison shopping excursion show it’s doable, but without being savvy and stingy, it’s going to be very hard to balance the budget for a heartland family of four.

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