Many people saved money this year with limited travel options and restaurant outings being far and few between. However, there is one thing that Americans have been spending more on, and they probably haven’t even realized it. In fact, by this time next year, it’s possible that you will have paid a few hundred dollars more on the same amount of groceries.
If you were to compare a grocery receipt from January with one from August, you may notice a slight increase on various items. According to exclusive Nielsen data, the price of meat has slightly increased since the beginning of the year. For example, a pound of bacon, ground beef, and chicken breast all cost 50 cents, 40 cents, and 30 cents, respectively, more than they were in January. That price hike is even greater in certain areas of the U.S. (Related: 8 Grocery Items That May Soon Be in Short Supply)
In Miami, Florida, the average consumer is paying about a dollar more for chicken and in Los Angeles, shoppers are paying about 60 cents more. Smaller stores in Brooklyn, New York have even started putting signs in the windows letting people know that some items have increased in price. The reason for most of these price hikes? Brands and food manufacturers are often in short supply of items and therefore, don’t need to offer promotions and deals to hit their goals.
“Promotions offered to consumers continue to be suppressed below their pre-COVID-19 levels for the fifth straight month,” Phil Tedesco, director of retail analytics for Nielsen, told NBC News. “August saw a dip in this crucial metric from July, which is what has caused this month to be more expensive than in recent months.”
According to Nielsen data, the average cost of a basket of 37 representative goods peaked in May at $138.78. That same basket of groceries fell to $136.40 in June and July and then rose to $138.63 in August.
Erike Hembre, Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago told NBC News that he estimates that the average household will spend about $400 more on groceries by this time next year if these price increases remain. Households that don’t garner as much income are estimated to spend $210 more on groceries.
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