If it feels like it’s getting more challenging each month to spend within budget, you’re not alone. Basic needs – like food and gasoline – have become increasingly expensive. But it sounds like it’s going to get worse before it starts to get any easier. Here’s what you need to know.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an update to its Food Price Outlook for 2022. In the report, the agency outlined food prices increased 7.9 percent from 2021 to February 2022, which was “the largest 12-month advance since July 1981.” But even still, prices are expected to get even higher from there.
The report was grim, stating that nearly every food is set to increase in price this year. “All food prices are now predicted to increase between 4.5 and 5.5 percent,” the USDA’s Economic Research Service explained in the March report. After a year where grocery prices increased nearly 8 percent already, it’s a hard pill to swallow that prices are expected to get even higher.
And this increase is true for all foods – not just when you’re shopping at the grocery store or eating at a restaurant. Grocery prices are expected to rise between 3 and 4 percent in the coming months, on top of what we’ve already seen. Prices for eating out will see an increase between 5.5 and 6.5 percent, according to projections.
Not all foods are increasing at the same rate, with beef and veal seeing the largest increase, and fresh vegetables showing the smallest. While the percentages seem small – for example, eggs are projected to increase by 2.5-3.5 percent and beef is rising between 4 and 7 percent – these increases are on top of the 2021 jumps.
For example, if beef for your family costs $10, that price would have already jumped to approximately $11.62 with last year’s 16-plus percent increase. Now with the additional increase this year, that same amount of beef would now cost approximately $12.09. While that only seems like $2, every food item has jumped, to various percentages, and it’s making our typical weekly grocery bill astronomically different in price as it all adds up.
And all these price increases come thanks to inflation and volatile markets due to the pandemic and global conflicts. “Inflation will mean the average U.S. household has to spend an extra $5,200 this year ($433 per month) compared to last year for the same consumption basket,” Bloomberg Economics previously reported.
Of course, there are some small cost-saving measures families can do to help keep their grocery bills down — buying frozen veggies and fruits, stocking up on deals, and keeping lots of food items in your fridge or freezer to limit trips to the grocery store. But there’s only so much that families can do.