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Home Business Grocery prices are rising in America again. Here’s what got more expensive

Grocery prices are rising in America again. Here’s what got more expensive

by Jamal Harris
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Originally Published: 13 JUN 23 10:01 ET

Updated: 13 JUN 23 10:56 ET

By Danielle Wiener-Bronner, CNN

New York (CNN) — US grocery prices ticked up in May after dipping in March and April. Inflation in America continued to fall significantly, but rising prices at the supermarket is unwelcome news to those struggling to pay for food.

From April to May, adjusted for seasonal swings, grocery prices got 0.1% more expensive, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, a key measure of inflation. Menu items got 0.5% in that time.

Overall, grocery prices were 5.8% more expensive in May than they were a year ago. Menu prices have risen 8.3% over the past year. Together, food prices jumped 6.7% throughout the year, once again outpacing overall annual inflation, which came in at 4%.

Certain food items got quite a bit more expensive over the course of the year.

Margarine spiked 22.5%, flour jumped 17.1%, bread spiked 12.5% and sugar rose 11.1%. Meanwhile, juice and other nonalcoholic drinks popped 9.9%, lettuce went up 9.4%, ham grew 8.2% and — brace yourself — ice cream went up 8%.

Some items have notched smaller increases over the past 12 months: Cheese grew 3.6%, chicken went up 0.9% and fresh fruits and vegetables have risen 0.6%. Uncooked beef roasts stayed flat.

A variety of factors have caused food prices to rise. Extreme weatherthe war in Ukraineavian flu and higher costs along the supply chain have all led to higher prices. Plus, food sellers have used the disruptions as cover to raise prices. And with food sales up — even though consumers are buying fewer items — those prices are likely to remain elevated.

Still, there has been some relief since last year. Bacon fell 9.8%, citrus fruit dropped 5.3%, fresh whole milk dropped 3.4%, pork chops fell 2.2%, and fish and seafood fell 1.1% over the course of the year.

Egg prices are in historic decline

Even though grocery prices ticked up overall from April to May, a number of individual items got cheaper — notably, eggs.

The item, which was soaring earlier this year, dropped 13.8% last month — the largest single-month price decline since January 1951.

A highly contagious bird flu reduced the number of egg-laying hens last year. That, among other factors, sent egg prices way up. This year, despite fears to the contrary, the deadly virus seems to be under control.

But as supply stabilized, demand failed to keep pace, driving prices down.

The lull in egg sales was caused in part by people pulling back when prices were shockingly high. On top of that, spring is always a slow time in this market: After Easter and Mother’s Day, but before back-to-school breakfast season, people typically buy fewer eggs.

Other items got also cheaper since April. Pork chops dropped 1.5% over the past month. Bacon fell 1.3%, fish and seafood went down 1.6% and rice and pasta dipped 1.2%. Butter dropped 1%.

But several items got more expensive, as well.

In the meat aisle, uncooked ground beef jumped 2%, fresh whole chickens rose 1.9% and ham got 1.6% pricier.

Elsewhere, lettuce jumped 5.3%, margarine went up 2.1% and apples got 1.9% more expensive. Sugar rose 0.5%, and bread ticked up 0.4%.

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