Food prices on the rise

By Megan Gronau

Have you ever wondered what your grocery bill will look like in ten years? Maybe you reflect on how cheap things were ten years ago? Certain food prices have been on the rise within the past decade and will continue to fluctuate throughout the coming years. In the U.S., we are paying 19.1% more in the grocery store than we did 10 years ago (Stebbins & Stockdale).

There are many factors that contribute to the fluctuation of food prices. Unpredictable weather patterns—such as droughts or floods—create uncertainty in crop yields and sometimes cause shortages. As the law of supply and demand tells us, it’s much harder to meet demands in times of supply shortages. In 2018, there was a wheat deficit that created a shortage of product and an increase in price (Stebbins & Stockdale). The same is happening in the oil industry as product prices continue to increase because shipping prices are climbing higher.

Americans have a growing appetite for expensive food; thus, there are increased demands for certain goods and, subsequently, rises in price of those coveted goods (Stebbins & Stockdale). There is a correlation between the demand for a specific product and the price of said product. As the demand increases, the price also increases. Take, for example, the meat industry in America. The U.S. is a large producer of meat; meanwhile, countries like China are looking to import it from the U.S.. There was a very high demand for meat to be exported out and, in return, an increase in the cost by 42.4% (Stebbins & Stockdale).

Since last December, buying products at a grocery store or supermarket has only increased by 0.9%, which is still below the average (“Summary Findings”). In this upcoming year, the prices of products from the grocery store are only expected to increase by 0.5 to 1.5%. There will still be a slight increase in prices with inflation but it will still be below the average from year to year. It’s important to note, though, that even if these percentages feel low, they will have a large impact in the long run.

Sources:

Stebbins, Samuel, and Charles Stockdale. “These 20 Common Grocery Store Items Are Driving up the Cost of Your Bill the Most.” USA Today, Gannett Satellite Information Network, 29 Apr. 2019, www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2019/02/28/average-grocery-store-bill-cost-is-driven-up-most-by-these-items/39094659/.

“Summary Findings.” USDA ERS – Summary Findings, 2020, www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings.aspx.

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