April saw the highest spike in grocery prices in 46 years
The price of groceries in the U.S. shot up by 2.6 percent in April, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer price index released on May 12. This was the largest one-month jump in “food at home” costs since February 1974, CNBC reports.
The price of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs, in particular, rose amid reported shortages during the pandemic, with a 4.3 percent increase compared to last month. Other grocery categories also saw higher prices as people continue to shelter at home: cereals and bakery products (2.9 percent, the steepest single-month increase on record, per the Washington Post), dairy and related products (1.5 percent), fruits and vegetables (1.5 percent), nonalcoholic beverages (2.9 percent), and other food at home (1.9 percent).
These grocery numbers are an outlier among overall trends in the U.S., where sales and prices have generally fallen, especially in categories like gasoline (-20.6 percent, per the price index), airline fares (-15.2 percent), and apparel (-4.7 percent).
Geri Henchy, director of nutrition policy for the Food Research & Action Center, tells the Post that the inflated grocery prices are due to a shift in where consumers buy their goods (significantly more people are eating at home now, rather than at restaurants), as well as supply chain disruptions. The higher prices are just another burden on top of already strained economic resources for families, marginalized communities, and people who may have lost their jobs.
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