coronavirus pandemic

Why Food Prices Have Spiked During the Pandemic

NBC Universal, Inc.

If you have been to the grocery store lately, you may have noticed the price on some foods steadily rising during the pandemic.

Since February, the Federal Bureau of Economic Analysis has noted sharp increases in food prices.

Beef and Veal are up 20.2%, eggs are up 10%, poultry is up 8.6% and pork is up 8.5%.

These increases can be attributed to COVID-19 infections at processing plants and protocols at those companies to limit employee exposure, which result in less supply.

“We are seeing significantly higher prices across the board on many food items and that of course is making it really hard on a lot of families to afford their grocery bill,” Kim Palmer said.

Palmer is a personal finance expert at Nerd Wallet.

She says grocers are also spending more money hiring employees, sanitizing carts, and providing barriers for cashiers. These things can all add up in your bill.

“All of the people involved in getting food onto the shelves have to take extra precautions so it’s taking extra time, it’s also taking extra equipment in some cases, so all of that adds up to extra costs for grocery stores to safely open their doors,” Palmer said.

She says stores may have less to spend on paper coupon ads and savings circulars, which actually promote more contact touching, but Palmer says consumers can still find savings digitally.

“Coupons that are on apps that they have ready to go in their phone so you don’t actually have to physically carry around a newspaper,” Palmer said.

To save on cash, Palmer suggested that people should plan their meals, buy less expensive brands when possible, look into store loyalty programs, and take advantage of local food banks and charities.

“It’s a really great way to round out your family's food because right now it’s just really hard for people to buy everything they need because of these heightened prices,” Palmer said.

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