Food prices rose in August, putting pressure on low- and middle-income families in particular.
Food prices for home cooking rose 13.5% from August 2021, the largest rate of growth since March 1979, government data showed. The annual increase in the US consumer price index was 8.3 percent in August. Food, overall, was 11.4% more expensive than a year earlier, the largest annual increase since May 1979. Dining spending rose 8% year-over-year in August.
Eggs saw the biggest price increase among grocery-store items. In August, they were 39.8% more expensive than a year ago. Supply and demand both added to the upward pressure on prices. Avian influenza wiped out about 10 percent of egg production across the country earlier this year, an egg producer previously told MarketWatch.
Avian flu has also affected poultry. In August, chicken prices were 16.6 percent higher than a year ago. In addition to high temperatures and tight supplies, consumers are shifting their purchases to chicken instead of high-priced beef, said Brian Earnest, lead animal protein economist at CoBank, a national cooperative bank that serves industries in rural America.
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Prices of milk and processed foods have also increased. Margarine was up 38.3% year-on-year in August, while butter prices were up 24.6%, mainly due to higher prices of raw materials such as soybean oil and cream. Flour and prepared flour mixtures were 23.3% more expensive than a year ago. Cracker prices rose 17.7% over the year, and frozen bakery products such as pies and tarts rose 18.1%.
“S. In August, they were 39.8% more expensive than a year ago.“
Although beef and pork prices fell, processed meats such as hot dogs and lunch meats continued to command higher prices in August. Frankfurt prices rose 18.3 percent in August. That’s partly due to industry-wide labor shortages, CoBank’s Earnest said, with higher wages needed to attract workers being passed on to consumers.
Fresh-fruit and vegetable prices rose 7.9% in August, and lettuce was especially 15.2% more expensive. According to the Wall Street Journal, high temperatures in the western states may contribute to this. Growers say the summer heat has exacerbated lettuce diseases and severely reduced crop yields.
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“We’ve just seen a peak in food inflation,” Scott Brave, head of Morning Consult at market research firm, told MarketWatch. “And the longer it goes on, the harder it will be to afford those price increases, especially for low-income individuals.”
Low-income households have felt the greatest impact from inflation because a higher proportion of their disposable income is spent on gas RB00 purchases.
Utilities and commodities, experts say. The average national price of gasoline fell from more than $5 a gallon in recent months to $3.69 in June, according to the Energy Information Administration.
“Fresh fruits and vegetables were up 7.9% in August, but lettuce was 15.2% more expensive, hit by extreme heat in the western US.“
Consumers — especially low-income families — have benefited from lower gas prices. But the rise in food prices has overshadowed that relief, Morning Advisor said.
According to a LendingTree survey, nearly two-thirds of Americans reported at the end of July that they were worried about not being able to buy groceries at least once in the past month. Among those most concerned about rising food prices are women, members of Generation Z and millennials.
At the same time, young children and low-income families are more concerned about putting bread on the table, he said. Households with an annual income of less than $35,000 are most worried about inflation, with 74% expressing concerns about affordability, the report found.
According to David Portalatin, a food analyst at Market, the average American household eats 3½ times more at restaurants than at grocery stores, so eating at home can save money. Research firm NPD Group.
More people may choose to visit restaurants in response to inflation, he told MarketWatch. “Inflationary pressures will drive more consumers to grocery stores than to restaurants,” even though grocery prices are higher than restaurant prices, Portalatin said. “Grocery store still costs less than restaurant food.”