After prices jumped as a result of stockpiling during the initial outbreak of the pandemic last year, the increases show no sign of retreat, as experts forecast food prices are likely to keep going up; plus, ways you can save $.
Food prices have jumped 2.6 percent over the past year and the latest numbers show things going up with no sign of stopping.
There was a 0.6 percent increase in the monthly consumer price index, the largest one-month increase in nearly a decade, according to the latest report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, NBC reported.
According to the government figures, fruit and vegetables rose by nearly 2 percent over the previous month, with meats, eggs, poultry and fish rising by 0.4 percent.
Economists are predicting that prices are likely to continue to increase, toward the higher end of estimates, for the rest of the year.
The outbreak of the global pandemic led to stockpiling, which caused shortages and disruptions to the supply chain, and in turn, caused to prices climb. But as store shelves restocked, prices never went back down. Now, they are climbing even higher.
As a comparison, in January 2020, the national average for a pound of bacon was $4.72. In March, the price had climbed to $5.11. And the price can vary according to location, for example, the price for a pound of bacon was nearly a dollar higher in Boston and Philadelphia, and 70 cents higher in Chicago.
In a comparison of rising prices between February 2021 and March 2021, the national average for the price of a pound of ground beef in February was $5.02, and climbed to $5.26 in March. Bread rose from $2.44 a loaf to $2.66.
Consumers are advised to seek out coupon aggregator apps or price-comparison apps which can help reduce your grocery costs as those pennies to add up. Other recommended methods are choosing generic or store brands wherever possible, selecting cheaper cuts of meats, chicken instead of beef or reducing meat consumption, as well as avoiding expensive recipes.
Everyone has noticed gasoline prices climbing over the last several months, but they skyrocketed in March over February, climbing by 9.1 percent. Rising gasoline prices tend to drive up the price of everything as the cost of transporting goods increases.
On Monday, the White House said it expects inflation to go up and not back down. One of President Biden’s Council of economic advisers wrote in a blog post on Monday: “The rate of increase looks faster when it rises from a lower level, while supply chains have been disrupted and demand for services has built up.”
Economists say soaring gas prices are the only thing driving up food prices. They factor in rising commodity prices, increased imports by China, heavy Midwest crop damage and other factors that are all getting passed on to retail consumers. Another factor is that supply chains are still trying to recover from fallout from the pandemic and remain largely inefficient.