In an inflationary environment, food prices tend to shoot up like rockets and come down like feathers, and food economists believe that will continue to be the case in keeping food prices from going down heading into the holidays and 2024.
Supermarket prices increased slightly for the second consecutive month and are up 3% over the past year, led by a 6% hike over the past 12 months in the cost of bakery products, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday.
Grocery prices dropped 0.3% in March, the first such decline since September 2020, as consumers benefitted from lower costs for a wide range of foods, including meat, dairy products, and fruits and vegetables.
Analysts say consumers are likely to see relatively high prices in grocery stores and restaurants for some time, due to strong commodity markets and high agricultural input costs that get passed through the food chain.
This year, typical holiday stress is exacerbated by inflationary concerns, with 62% of shoppers reporting their grocery costs have increased year-over-year, according to the Food Industry Association’s U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends 2022 series focusing on holiday shopping. When it comes to holiday plans, 45% of shoppers are more concerned about the price of holiday meals than the price of travel or gifts.