Consumer Reports: Get ready for sticker shock at the grocery store

Grocery store prices are increasing whether you are buying online or going to the store. According to the latest government data, consumers are paying 3.5% more, and for a family of four, that can be a sizeable cost difference.

Video Transcript

- Get ready for sticker shock at the grocery store. Prices are going up on food and also other staples. Our Nydia Han right here in studio to explain why, and how families can save on all of this, Nydia.

NYDIA HAN: Yes, it is not just your imagination. Prices are increasing. And for a family of four, it can be a sizable cost difference-- as much as $500 more a year-- this at a time when the pandemic already has so many struggling to make ends meet.

- We had a suspicion that prices were gonna go up, but I don't think we realized how bad it was gonna be.

NYDIA HAN: Consumer Reports says meat, seafood, and fresh produce prices are up 8% compared to this time last year, and paper towels and toilet paper are still up more than 5%. As more people are at home and demand is up, supply is down. Plus, there are truck driver shortages and we've had severe storms.

- I don't think anybody realized, you know, the magnitude of issues that we're seeing within the supply chain right now.

NYDIA HAN: A growing number of popular consumer companies have already announced price hikes-- General Mills, the maker of Cheerios, saying it needs to offset higher freight manufacturing and commodity prices. Hormel is raising prices on products like Jennie-O ground turkey in light of higher grain costs. And even the cost of a jar of Jif peanut butter is higher than a year ago because maker JM Smucker says its costs are "meaningfully higher." But there are ways to save, stock up, and strike when the price is right.

- You've got to think about what you routinely use. And if you see it on sale, you certainly need to buy it in bulk.

NYDIA HAN: Also, buy store brands, which are at least 20% to 25% lower than name brands. Costco and Trader Joe's earn top marks by CR members, and Target has just introduced Favorite Day, a house brand for baked goods, frozen desserts, and beverages.

And here are more tips to save. Shop drugstores and even gas station mini-marts. Sometimes they offer lower prices on staples like milk and eggs. Use a cash back credit card. And use discount apps like Ibotta and Flipp. Both coordinate store loyalty cards with current coupons and discounts. And with Flipp, just scan at checkout to apply your savings. So easy, so why not take advantage of it? Rick, back to you.

- All right, Nydia. Thank you very much.