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You may have been reading that food-at-home prices have risen an average of 8% year-over-year and are expected to rise another 3-4% by year-end.
What you may not know is that some food-at-home prices have risen as much as 35% since 2021, and others only 1%. If you shop often, you may already know which item costs have risen significantly and which have held steady.
The most significant price increases have been seen in meat. Pork costs 14% more, and beef costs 20% more. These figures pale in comparison to how much chicken prices have increased, however. Broiler chicken prices have increased 38%, and the price per pound for chicken wings has gone up to $3.00.
The following chart from CNBC Make It shows how much everyday household food items have changed in price since 2021.
MSNBC Maket It Chart using price comparison app Basket
So What's Causing Other Food Products to Increase in Cost?
In recent months, food companies, distributors, processors, and growers have had to deal primarily with growing labor costs and competition for employees and adjust their cost forecasts and sale prices to compensate.
Other factors driving shortages and new expenses include:
Cattle and hog herds shrank in 2021.
Wheat, corn, and other grain prices are at their highest since 2012 due to drought and high demand from China, raising food input costs.
Other crop prices such as sugar, tomatoes, and melons are due to extreme weather events. Staples like vanilla are still recovering from a monsoon that destroyed plants in 2017.
After a cold snap shut down Texas plastic refineries, food packaging shortages have been factored into final product costs.
Cardboard and paper shortages.
Higher demand as restaurants re-open.
An increase in the amount of food Americans are buying (greater than before the pandemic).
Other countries are importing more U.S. beef and eggs.
With growing competition amongst food companies, marketing and advertising costs have risen in an effort to maintain a market position for their brands.
What's a Consumer to do?
Now that you have a clearer understanding of how food companys’ in-put prices are affecting consumers’ costs, how can you "fight back?"
Many money advisors suggest the following to help manage inflated food prices:
Shopping off-brands or generic brands
Set a budget and work with it
Research food prices
Get rewards on groceries with a card like Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards card | Shop where your rewards card offers special/seasonal percentages
Buy non-perishable items in bulk
Make items from scratch (like bread, spaghetti sauce, hummus, vegetable broth)
Make sure you use your leftovers – don’t let any food go to waste
Buy produce locally and in season
Look into meal delivery services like Home Chef, Hello Fresh, or Blue Apron. Some of their meals can be stretched to serve two if you add your own vegetables or salad.
Grow your own vegetables, herbs, and fruits. If you have a sunny spot, you can reap the rewards of fresh, inexpensive-to-you, untreated food.
Sources: CNBC, Consumer Price Index, Basket.com, toolsgroup.com, intelligence.com, time.com, moneyunder30.com