‘Lunchflation’ means the cost of your meal is going up

Morning In America

(NewsNation) — If you’ve recently been out to eat during the day, you may have noticed that your lunch costs more.

Although it has shown signs of moderating, inflation, which has plagued industries from fuel to agriculture, is still likely to remain far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target. Consumer prices have seen an 8.3% leap in the last year. Now, some economists have come up with a new term — “Lunchflation” — to describe the effect inflation is having on the cost of people’s midday meals.

Food prices were up by 9.4% last month, according to the Labor Department. The food index saw its seventeenth consecutive monthly increase in April as well, going up by 0.9%.

Popular salad maker SweetGreen raised its prices back in January by 6%, while sandwich restaurant Potbelly raised its prices in February by 5.4%.

The payment company Square in March calculated the price of some popular lunch items in major cities.

It found prices went up between March 1, 2020 to March 1, 2022 for the following foods:

  • Wraps by 13%
  • Sandwiches by 15%
  • Tacos by 19%
  • Salads by 9%
  • Burgers by 9%
  • Soup by 28%

Square attributed the increased price of lunch for consumers to rising costs restaurants are facing, as they’ve seen labor and ingredient costs go up.

According to Business Insider, a national labor shortage means restaurants have raised wages to attract more staff after record resignations during the COVID-19 pandemic because of the industry’s low pay, lack of benefits and poor working condition. As Insider reported, supply chain shortages in the U.S. and major droughts in countries such as Brazil and Argentina haven’t helped matters.

“Restaurants have been among the hardest-hit businesses over the past few years, and now they’re facing rising costs across all parts of their business due to labor shortages and supply chain constraints,” said Bryan Solar, Head of Restaurants at Square, said the company’s report. “While technology offers many solutions, business from and relationships with the customer continue to be key to restaurants’ survival.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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