Increase in food prices is highest since 1979

·3 min read
Bacon on display and for sale at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.
Bacon on display and for sale at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.

Brace yourself, breakfast lovers. Get ready to pay more for those eggs over easy, hash browns and toast.

Touted as a typically inexpensive meal of the day, breakfast item prices are costing more. Americans are paying a whopping 38% more for eggs, and breakfast cereal has increased more than 16% from a year ago, according to the Consumer Price Index report released Wednesday morning.

Potatoes and bread are up more than 13% since July 2021.

After rapid increases, including rising to a year-over-year 41-year high in June, inflation in July went unchanged, the labor department said.

But food inflation is still scorching hot.

Overall food cost increases reached levels not seen in more than 40 years.

Food prices rose 1.1% in July from June, according to the labor department report.

And there's no relief in sight.

While the pain at the pump might have eased a bit, skyrocketing food prices are making up for it.

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Grocery costs are up 13.1% from July 2021. That's the highest, year-over-year increase in 43 years.

Consumer prices increased 8.5% from a year ago, though economists predicted an 8.7% increase. The increase is down from a 9.1% year-over-year rise in June, which was the fastest rate of increase since November 1981.

Contributing to the decline, the report notes, were lower gas prices and airfares.

What costs more

From cereal to dairy products to eggs, all six grocery store food categories that the labor department tracks increased. July grocery prices were up 1.3% after June's 1% rise.

The overall food index that tracks grocery, dining out and food away from home costs increased 10.9%  from July 2021. It's the largest year-over-year increase since May 1979.

Many shoppers are experiencing higher food prices while receiving less product from popular food brands, something industry leaders call "shrinkflation." Shrinkflation is the downsizing of a product while keeping its sticker price the same and it is happening to popular brands found in grocery stores across the country. A 20 ounce of party size of Wheat Thins and a 12-ounce pack of Chicken in a Biskit at the Meijer in Ypsilanti on March 31, 2022.
Many shoppers are experiencing higher food prices while receiving less product from popular food brands, something industry leaders call "shrinkflation." Shrinkflation is the downsizing of a product while keeping its sticker price the same and it is happening to popular brands found in grocery stores across the country. A 20 ounce of party size of Wheat Thins and a 12-ounce pack of Chicken in a Biskit at the Meijer in Ypsilanti on March 31, 2022.
  • Breakfast cereal cost 2% more in July from June and 16.4% from July 2021.

  • Chicken costs increased 1.4% since June and are up 17.6% year-over-year.

  • Butter and margarine had a less than half percent increase from June's 5% increase, year-over-year it's  up 22%.

  • Flour costs 3.2% more in July and is up nearly 23% since July 2021.

What cost less

There were some bright spots in the CPI report. Prices for some beef and pork products dropped.

  • Hot dog prices were down 6.1% in July after June's 4.5% increase.

  • Ham prices decreased by 1% after June's 1.1% increase.

  • Beef and veal prices stayed the same following a 2.3% decrease in June. Beef steaks declined another 1.1% from June's 1.6%.

But on the food front, you'll be paying more for just about everything, whether you cook meals at home or go to a restaurant, a July report from the USDA says. The USDA's July Food Prices Outlook for 2022 predicted a 10%-11% rise in food prices this year. Dining out, the USDA predicts, will see a 6.5%-7.5% increase.

The CPI reflects changes in prices for certain goods and services by consumers. Spending patterns cover all urban consumers and urban wage earners and clerical workers in urban or metropolitan areas.

Contact Detroit Free Press food writer Susan Selasky and send food and restaurant news to:  sselasky@freepress.com. Follow @SusanMariecooks on Twitter.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Increase in food prices is highest since 1979