GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — You might need to budget more money for groceries these days. High demand, and other impacts of the pandemic on the supply chain, sent prices soaring.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the jump in April food prices was the largest monthly increase in 46 years, and prices are expected to stay high for the foreseeable future.
Over the last 12 months, prices for food at home increased 4.8 percent. Prices for meats, poultry, fish and eggs increased the most, up 10 percent. And in May, there was the largest ever monthly increase for beef.
Trey Malone, an agriculture economist and professor at Michigan State University said, we will likely see some of these prices stabilize. But others, like fruits and vegetables, could continue to rise, depending on impacts of the coronavirus on workers.
“There are certain counties like Yakima County, in Washington State is a very important County, if you go anywhere up that west coast of Michigan, you'll see a lot of specialty crop harvesting going on in the next few months,” Malone said. “If we see case rates increase in those places, I would expect the cost to harvest to increase, which will either make the food too expensive, or they just won't harvest, and so we might see shortages in certain items.”
Malone offered the following tips to save money:
Since far fewer people are eating out, you might find a deal on food you’d typically order at a restaurant, like steak, fish, chicken wings and bacon.
Michigan is the 2nd most diverse agricultural state, so people can also save money by going to u-pick operations, and buying meat directly from local farms.
The same impacts that are driving higher prices at the grocery store are also resulting in paying less for car insurance, gas and clothes.
While you might be stuck paying more for groceries, it’s also likely you’ll be spending less on overall expenses.
MORE on 13 ON YOUR SIDE:
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- Holland food pantry sees threefold growth in need during COVID-19 pandemic
- Hunger remains top concern for West Michigan families during pandemic, not easing up any time soon
- Michigan is the first state to provide meals to families affected by COVID-19 school closures
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