Home » Lower Inflation? Not at the Grocery Store

Lower Inflation? Not at the Grocery Store

A spike in inflation to over 9% last year has largely subsided. But prices of staples like butter, sugar and potatoes that rose over 20% since the start of 2022 have yet to come down.

Inflation may be slowing after a dramatic spike in 2022, but many Americans across the country are still feeling pain in the grocery store.

Eggs are an example of how prices have fluctuated. The average price of a dozen eggs came down from $4.82 per dozen in January to $2.67 in May, but that price is still 38% higher than at the start of 2022, when a dozen eggs cost less than $2 on average. And it’s not just eggs: The prices of many grocery store items have risen over 20% since the start of 2022, including for staples like butter, sugar and potatoes.

Agencies like the Bureau of Labor Statistics use food prices and the costs of other consumer goods to calculate a measure of inflation known as the “consumer price index” or CPI.

In May, the general inflation rate – measured by the BLS as the year-over-year change in the CPI for all items – dropped to 4.0%, the lowest inflation rate in over two years. But in the last year, prices for both groceries and eating out at restaurants have grown more than prices for energy and all other consumer items.

Rising prices make it more difficult for American families to maintain a healthy and consistent diet. Food and nutrition are included in U.S. News’ Healthiest Communities platform, which looks at additional measures such as local accessibility and quality of food options, expenditures on healthy and unhealthy grocery items, and the prevalence of diabetes and obesity.

A host of factors can contribute to the rising and falling costs of food, including labor shortages, rising expenses in packaging and processing, the cost of energy and other factors – like the bird flu that drove the surge in egg prices.

Prices for all food purchased for the home at markets, grocery stores and other food retailers do typically rise from one month to the next. But for nearly two straight years, from April 2021 to February 2023, the country saw above-average monthly price increases for food purchased for the home. In that time, overall food prices at home rose nearly 20%, with half of those months seeing increases of quadruple the historical median.

Research suggests most Americans are still feeling the strain of high food costs. According to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Household Pulse Survey, an estimated 88% of American adults reported feeling that prices had increased in the area where they live and shop in the last two months. And nearly 82% of adults were estimated to be either somewhat or very concerned about more price increases in the near future.

Source : usnews