CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — If you’ve gone grocery shopping lately, the thing that’s caught your attention most hasn’t been bare shelves, like this time last year. It’s been the higher prices on just about everything.
Overall, grocery bills are on average 10% higher than they were in 2019.
The biggest offender is meat, especially beef, with prices on everything from prime ribeye to London broil jumping 17.6% over the last year. Beef has been heavily affected by supply chain difficulties. There are many steps to go through between cow and meat case, and every one of those has had to recover from the pandemic.
Meat is followed by fish, poultry and eggs on the inflation scale.
Another driver to the inflation has been the rapid swings in buying habits of the public. We’ve gone from stocking up on toilet paper and canned goods to wanting party napkins and burger meat to grill out with newly vaccinated friends. The changes in demand aren’t something industry can react to quickly, and money has to be spent to compensate.
The prices aren’t likely to come down anytime soon, either. The labor shortage is being resolved, but very slowly, and the supply chain backlog isn’t anywhere close to clearing. Don’t look for your grocery bill to be dropping by any appreciable amount anytime in the near future.
According to the USDA, the average monthly grocery bill for a family of 4 rose from $1,063 in 2019 to $1,153 in 2021. That might not seem like a huge amount, but for families living at or below the poverty line, an extra $90/month is tough to come by.