Spike in food prices expected to continue into 2022

Shoppers are continuing to face sticker shock at the grocery store, with prices spiking over the last year. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, consumer prices rose 7% in November 2021, compared to the year before. That's a 39-year high and the biggest spike since 2008.

Some of the largest spikes include meat prices, which have gone up 16%, and specifically steaks, which have seen a 25% increase, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Prices are up nearly across the board with seafood, eggs, dairy, produce, bakery items and even alcohol seeing bumps over the last 12 months.

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Throughout 2021, various large food companies dealt with labor strikes, including Nabisco, and most recently Kellogg's. According to the Wall Street Journal, some other companies plan to increase prices on more items in 2022. Many of the price increases are being blamed on things like supply chain issues, which have been a problem throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, labor shortages, and higher prices on things like gas and animal feed. 

According to experts, some of the top money-saving tips include planning ahead, either with a list or by following the sales, purchasing produce that's in season, and limiting spending on prepared and frozen food items, which tend to be more expensive.  

Nate Rose, the Senior Director of Communications for the California Grocers Association, said COVID-19 is also impacting grocery store prices. 

"We've seen continually throughout the pandemic that depending on what's happening on the COVID-19 front, that impacts the supply chain and workforce, and all those issues that have caused snags in the supply chain which have caused prices to go up in the stores. I know there was some thought that some things might get better in the second half of 2022, but we'll have to watch and see how the omicron variant plays into the current supply chain issues," said Rose. 

Rose said meat has been one area that has surged, but other sectors of the store are impacted too.  

"One aspect of this to think about is the grocery industry. The grocery community is operating on super thin margins so a lot of this is cost being passed on to consumers. When the supplier prices are rising because of the supply chain, and material costs, they're charging higher prices to send the goods over to the stores and the stores are having to charge more when you go shopping," he said. 

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