A tired-looking coffee cake at the grocery store will probably cost you about 15% more than it did a year ago. An egg carton costs a third more.
With inflation at its highest level since 1981, some of the biggest increases are coming at the supermarket.
“It’s really bad,” said Nancy Boyce, a retiree who was comparing prices on the bakery shelf at a grocery store in her Manhattan neighborhood. “Eggs, fruits, vegetables, even bakery products – everything is too high.”
High prices change as some shoppers buy groceries. Tom Raven, who works as a manager at a commercial insurance company in Chicago, said he started shopping more at the wholesaler
) and discount chain Aldi supermarket.
“Six months ago I wouldn’t have gone to Aldi,” Raven said.
Food prices rose 10.4% from a year earlier, outpacing the 9.1% increase for the broader consumer price index released on Wednesday. Shoppers buying staples like butter, ghee, flour, eggs, poultry products and milk as well as prepared foods like soup and frozen dinners were hardest hit.
Grocery prices rose faster than food consumed away from home, such as meals at restaurants and snacks purchased at vending machines.
The household food portion of the index has risen 12.2% over the past 12 months — the largest increase since April 1979.
“This is a massive increase,” said Joseph Glauber, a senior researcher at the International Food Policy Research Institute and former chief economist at the US Department of Agriculture. “It still appears to be on the rise…Fruits and vegetables are up about 8%, dairy is up 13 and a half percent, and meat, poultry and fish are up about 12%. We’ve already seen strong food price inflation across the board over the past six months. or so.”
Glauber noted that the prices of staples such as corn, wheat and soybeans have fallen in recent months. He expects food inflation to eventually slow to reflect lower prices, but less than one might assume. He said that only about 5% to 10% of the cost of a loaf of bread from groceries reflects the price of wheat. The rest covers processing costs, transportation, labor, energy, and all other added value as the wheat moves up the supply chain and turns into bread on the shelf.
Given the high inflationary environment affecting not only food but energy costs, Glauber said price moderation caused by declining commodity values will take shoppers longer to figure out their grocery bills.
“We might only see a few percentage points pay off from the overall inflation rate for bread and flour, but over time, you might think that these would go down and could actually become negative for individual foodstuffs,” Glauber said. Baron. “This was certainly the case if you look back over the past 20 years. Food inflation has been tracked at around 2 to 3% annual inflation, and [for] Home food, certainly those prices were sometimes negative.”
For now, shoppers are still stuck in rapidly increasing prices when they buy almost any type of groceries. They pay more for prepared foods across the board. Prices for fresh sweet rolls, coffee, cakes, muffins, frozen pies, soups, salad dressings and frozen prepared foods are up nearly 15% compared to last year.
Margarine saw the largest increase in prices. The spread is 34.5% more expensive than it was last June, and its price jumped 7% from May to June this year. The price of butter is up about 21% from last year.
Baking at home has become much more expensive. In addition to butter and margarine, the price of flour increased by 19% from last June. The price of eggs rose more than any other product in the CPI report other than ghee, up 33.1% year over year. The cost of fresh whole milk also jumped 17.1%.
However, carnivores have enjoyed a slight delay last month. Beef and pork indices are down from May, and the only core grocery group index to drop is the “Meat, Poultry, Fish and Eggs” index, which is down 0.4% from last month. The price of bacon fell 1.1% in the May-June period, although it’s still nearly 11% higher than a year ago.
Within this broad protein category, poultry products, particularly chicken nuggets and chicken, continue to rise. The “meat, poultry, fish and eggs” index is also up about 12% compared to last year.
Shereen Felsen, an account manager for the publishing industry who lives on Long Island, carried a seven-ounce package of sliced turkey while she was shopping in Manhattan on Wednesday.
“[This is] Nine dollars and 99 cents, it’s incredible,” Felician said, adding that her mother taught her how to shred a whole chicken. She sometimes saves money by doing it instead of buying the parts packaged individually.
The cost of fresh and frozen chicken nuggets is about 20% higher than last year. Whole bird price growth has been a bit more modest, but it still required her to pay a lot more than she would have had to spend last summer: fresh whole chicken is 15.5% more expensive than it was 12 months ago.
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