We're tracking, comparing prices of 13 grocery store items over next few months

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Americans are feeling a big pinch at grocery stores. Prices for everything from ground beef to bacon to cereal have increased for the past several months, taking a bite out of consumers' wallets.

A national brand of bacon averaged nearly $10 for a 1-pound package at metro Detroit stores.

Basic store brand ground beef prices are all over the map. The cost for ground grass-fed or organic beef is even higher.

Prices for toilet paper and paper towels, if stores aren't cleared of packages, are also up.

Fred Higgs of Canton at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.Higgs has noticed the rise in prices on everything from produce to meats and milk at grocery stores.
Fred Higgs of Canton at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.Higgs has noticed the rise in prices on everything from produce to meats and milk at grocery stores.

Welcome to the new grocery shopping world where consumers are stunned at increasingly higher prices, supply snarls that lead to shortages and long checkout lines.

With higher prices, Free Press staffers set out to shop. And now we are tracking prices of a market basket of goods to gauge increases. We are checking prices on 13 items at local stores to determine what may be climbing the fastest as well as who has the best deals.

Inflation 2022: Sticker shock a new concept for most shoppers as prices skyrocket

More: How to save money, snag the best deals at grocery stores as prices rise

So far, while prices were up on some things, we also found some bargains. A dozen eggs for 95 cents, ground round for $2.99 a pound, and some darn good sale prices.

We will also be tracking and informing about what we see at stores like product shortages.

More than a week ago, a Target store was completely out of its store brand of gallon and half-gallons of milk. Shelves that normally house refrigerated biscuits at local Meijer and Kroger stores were nearly empty.

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.

Some stores are back to quantity limits that shoppers can buy of popular items, including canned goods, bacon, and paper towels.

The price hikes are up and down the grocery aisles. Grocery prices are scorching hot. Last month's prices were a staggering 6.4% higher than a year ago according to the Labor Department. And overall inflation rose 7%, its fastest pace increase in nearly 40 years.

Laurie Brock, of Canton, has taken notice of higher grocery store prices.

Various kinds and cuts of meat on display and for sale at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.
Various kinds and cuts of meat on display and for sale at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.

"Meats, ground beef, chicken, milk, and eggs have increased, and produce is high," Brock said while shopping recently at Busch's Fresh Food Market in Canton.

Even with sales and coupons, Brock believes food prices have risen and she is spending more. She's also finding that you can't stock up on things because the product shelf life isn't there. It doesn't last, she said.

Laurie Brock of Canton at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.Brock like other shoppers at grocery stores in Metro Detroit has noticed the rise in prices on everything from produce to meats and milk.
Laurie Brock of Canton at Busch's in Canton on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022.Brock like other shoppers at grocery stores in Metro Detroit has noticed the rise in prices on everything from produce to meats and milk.

Brock, like many metro Detroiters, is not alone.

Amanda Consiglio, of Gibraltar, began feeling the spike in grocery prices a few months before the holidays. She noticed packages of premade hamburgers increased about $2 and milk is averaging $3 per gallon.

"Prices have definitely gone up," Consiglio said. "It was hard enough before inflation started to impact grocery stores' prices. Now, there's not a lot of room for extras."

Consiglio's household of eight includes her husband, five kids, and a teenage exchange student from Italy.

"We have to prioritize and find what's the best value for the amount of people that we are feeding," Consiglio said.

Fred Higgs, of Canton, is totally dissatisfied with the current prices.

Meat and bread prices, he said, are at least 40% higher and his grocery bill every two weeks has nearly doubled. Higgs estimates he's paying 75 cents more for a package of Bay's English muffins.

He blames the lack of people working.

"If people would get back to work rather than sitting at home," Higgs said recently while shopping at Busch's Fresh Market in Canton.

Our grocery list is a baker's dozen of items that include a mix of store brands and national brands.

We'll be tracking the items listed below for the next few months as higher prices are expected to stick around a while.

We will make some comparisons from our starting point and report back. If you would like drop an email to food@freepress.com with comments, items you want to know about or what you're seeing in stores. Let us know if there are other items we should track.

  • Aunt Millie's Whole Wheat Bread

  • Oscar Mayer bacon

  • Bananas

  • Ground beef (store brand)

  • Cheerios

  • Cheez-It's

  • Del Monte canned cut green beans

  • Eggs (store brand)

  • Smucker’s strawberry jelly

  • Iceberg lettuce

  • Land O Lakes butter

  • Triscuits

  • Whole milk (store brand)

Periodically, we will check out other items not on the list if there is high demand or shortages.

More recently on Kroger's website, a banner message read: "Due to increased demand, you may experience longer wait times and limited inventory. We appreciate your patience as our associates work hard to continue to meet our customers' needs."

In the coming months, we will be your grocery store shopping aficionados and offer ways to save on food costs.

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: Grocery prices going up: We're comparing, tracking 13 store items

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