SHOPPERS will likely be horrified to learn that grocery bills aren’t coming down anytime soon.
In fact, a new inflation announcement from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the prices of key staples, from meat to baked goods, are rising at your local grocery store.
Overall, the consumer price index rose 0.5 percent in January after rising 0.1 percent in December, according to the report.
This represents a price increase of 6.4 percent for the full year, although it is down from 6.5 percent in December.
For groceries in particular, the grocery index rose 0.5 percent, while home groceries rose 0.4 percent over the month.
That means more shoppers are stressed about fitting all of their grocery needs into their budget, and the problem doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
“The ongoing and pervasive increases in food prices, both for groceries at home and on-the-go, continue to weigh on household budgets,” Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told The US Sun.
“If there’s one poster child for this inflationary spurt, it’s food, because of its necessity and the extent to which prices have risen,” McBride added.
He explained that food prices have been hiked across the board and there is no one to blame for the price hikes.
“While bad weather or limited supply issues can affect certain commodities, like coffee and wheat, in other cases it can be due to higher labor and transportation costs, or something specific like bird flu affecting chicken and egg prices affects,” McBride said.
Poultry, meat, fish and eggs saw some of the biggest price increases, but few food categories were spared higher inflation.
FRUIT AND VEGETABLES – DOWN 0.5%
Not all groceries have been equally affected by inflation over the past month. Vegetables and fruit even fell by 0.5 percent in January.
This does not mean that prices have returned to pre-inflation levels.
A head of iceberg lettuce is currently priced at $2.39 at Target.
However, you could get the same basic lettuce for $1.29 in 2020, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fruit prices have also risen across the board – but these costs are falling, as the consumer price index shows.
In 2022, a pint of strawberries cost $3.86. That number is now $2.78 at Walmart.
However, year-round, fruit and vegetables saw sharp price increases at a rate of 7.2 percent from 2022.
MEAT, POULTRY AND FISH – BY 0.7%
Shoppers shouldn’t expect to see lower prices for other staples, including their favorite proteins.
Meat, poultry and fish prices rose by 0.7 percent in January.
Even a New York strip steak at Walmart is around $16, while prices for these types of cuts have ranged from $12 to $14 at Aldi, Walmart and Trader Joe’s over the past year.
Even if you try to be frugal and buy chicken, you’ll end up spending almost the same amount, with a $15 package of chicken breasts at Walmart.
However, you might find cheaper options at stores like Target, which sell a similar amount for $7.
This is a big jump from 2017 when chicken had an average price of $3.20.
If you choose to include lean meats like fish in your diet, you’ll be at a loss, too, since you’re paying $12.19 for 10 ounces of salmon at Target.
Last year salmon was $11.35 a pound.
EGGS – 0.7%
According to the consumer price index, the price of eggs, one of the products hardest hit by inflation, rose 8.5 percent year-on-year.
And like meat, poultry and fish, egg prices rose 0.7 percent in January.
Shoppers looking for the lowest breakfast prices should consider Walmart’s Great Value brand, which sells for $2.84 a carton.
This is a significantly better deal than Target’s $3.59 12 White Eggs.
Even so, eggs used to be a relatively inexpensive grocery item to add to your shopping cart.
In 2022 alone, eggs rose 60 percent overall, leaving many buyers baffled when they found prices well over $1 for a dozen.
GRAIN AND BAKERY – BY 1%
Perhaps unsurprisingly, American shoppers also saw the prices of their favorite cereal and baked goods soar in the first month of 2023.
In January, these products rose by one percent.
Overall, the price index for these goods made a significant jump of 15.6 percent from January 2022 to January 2023.
Currently, a pack of Cinnamon Toast Crunch is $4.78 at Walmart, which is a better deal than Target’s $6 list price.
Similarly, you’ll be better off with a four-pack of blueberry muffins from Walmart for $3.98, while Target offers the same flavor for $5.49.
Meanwhile, dairy product prices were flat throughout January but rose 14 percent for the year as a whole.
According to McBride, experts do not expect a decisive moment in the future when all food prices will fall.
“Because there are so many different factors that contribute to food inflation, and the fact that food demand is relatively inelastic, it is unlikely that there will be a single turning point in the trajectory of food prices,” McBride said.
“People need to eat, and while one item can often be substituted for another, we cannot do without food,” he continued.
In a recent TikTok, a Costco shopper revealed a shockingly long line for eggs as shoppers struggled to get their hands on the goods at a cheaper price.
Also, check if you’re eligible for an inflation relief check worth up to $1,500.
https://www.the-sun.com/money/7391028/grocery-bills-increase-inflation-january/ Grocery bills rise again by 0.5% – new inflation announcement shows staples will continue to rise