Buying the Frozen Version of This Grocery Staple Could Cost You
The price of many grocery store and kitchen staples has fluctuated in the last two years, some getting so high that many customers are left to switch up their usual grocery list in order to save money. But in an unexpected turn of events, it's suddenly cheaper to buy fresh than frozen—at least when it comes to one item in particular.
In a recent report from Numerator, frozen meat at the grocery store has gone up 28% in price since this time last year, while fresh meat like pork and beef only went up 5%. With demand following a rollercoaster pattern since the start of the pandemic, manufacturing plant closures, and a massive bird flu epidemic in the U.S. this year, it's no surprise that meat has taken this big of a hit. But combined with the fact that frozen foods, in general, are also facing higher prices, it will take more to stock your freezer right now.
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Another product with dubious variations in inflation has been juice, which has seen a 17% increase during the same time, however, fruit, particularly citrus, has actually gone down in price by 2% in May. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) recently reported that overall food prices were up about 10.8% in April before jumping to over 12% in June compared to the year before. And according to experts, inflation rates may not even start to trend downward until 2023 thanks to supply chain issues and increased energy costs relating to sanctions against Russia for the war in Ukraine.
Another product with dubious variations in inflation has been juice, which has seen a 17% increase during the same time, however, fruit, particularly citrus, has actually gone down in price by 2% in May.
With individual food prices like frozen and fresh meat, it's a lot trickier to predict trends. Produce can be affected by weather like drought, which has been plaguing certain farmers in the U.S. Additionally, specific companies like Frito-Lay can choose to mitigate supply chain issues, high gas prices, and labor costs by using shrinkage and other tactics to pass cost savings on to the consumer so it's not even obvious when shoppers are losing money. Either way, foot traffic at traditional grocery stores may continue to get lighter as customers look for alternatives.