By now it's hard to remember when grocery prices were "normal". Ever since the pandemic costs for basic items have increased, and coupled with the recent increases in inflation and shortages for many essential produce ingredients, things are even more expensive right now. Companies like Kraft and Mondelez—who are the forces behind some of the most popular items on shelves like Oreo, Lunchables, Oscar Mayer, and more—have already raised prices and trends are pointing to the fact that they could do so again.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agrees. According to the most recent Food Price Outlook report for April, six major food groups are going to continue to go up in price through the rest of the year. Read on to find out which ones they are.
Fruits and Vegetables
Many grocery stores place the fresh food sections right near an entrance. If your supermarket is set up this way, expect to walk in and immediately be greeted by higher prices throughout 2022. The USDA says that both fresh fruits and vegetables are expected to go up in price between another 4.5% and 5.5%.
There also may be fewer bananas, strawberries, zucchini, broccoli, and more to choose from. One global commodity expert recently told CNBC that the Russian invasion of Ukraine and subsequent sanctions, plus the increase in fertilizer costs are a "double whammy" the full effects of which may not be felt until later into 2022 with upcoming harvests.
Another pricier buy at grocery stores will be dairy products. "Rapid increases in the consumption of dairy products have driven increases in retail prices in recent months," the USDA says in the report. "This trend continued in March 2022 with a 1.2-percent increase in the prices for dairy products."
The organization is predicting that prices for yogurt, cream cheese, milk, cheese, and other dairy favorites will go up 6% to 7% soon.
The egg industry isn't only facing issues related to the pandemic. There's also a massive number of birds who have been or are currently infected with the highly pathogenic avian influenza. Bloomberg reports that the cases are threatening U.S. exports and making it harder to harvest eggs. With egg prices being directly related to supply and demand, the cost of a dozen could rollercoaster for the rest of the year.
"An ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza could contribute to poultry and egg price increases through decreased supply or prices could be reduced by a drop in international demand for U.S. poultry," the USDA says before noting that prices are predicted to increase another 6% to 7% in 2022.
Beef, Veal, and other red meat
Meat prices in the delis and frozen sections of the grocery store have been anything but steady or cheap within the last two years, and 2022 is going to be no exception, the USDA predicts. Grocery shoppers should be aware that beef and veal prices could increase between 6% and 7%, pork prices by 4% and 5%, and other meat prices by 3.5% and 4.5% in the coming months.
The bird flu outbreak isn't going to just affect eggs but chickens, too. Some grocery store brands are already feeling the effects—Jennie-O, which is owned and operated by Hormel Foods, recently saw some of its flocks become ill. Should the outbreak continue, it could affect the beloved rotisserie chicken at places like Costco, while also raising chicken and other poultry prices by up to 6.5%, according to the USDA.
Fish prices have already skyrocketed this year, and the USDA predicts that higher prices will keep reeling in for a while. "A 1.5-percent increase in the price of fresh fish and seafood drove a 0.8-percent price increase in fish and seafood between February and March 2022," it says while noting that grocery shoppers may see an increase between 5% and 6% reflected before the end of 2022.
While higher grocery bills will be seen in the future, if you shop at one of several stores there's one thing that won't be around much longer—ALDI Is Joining Other Grocery Chains in Banning This From Stores.