What is causing food prices to go up in 2022? Maybe a better question is, when will they go back down? Many Americans are concerned about the increase in their grocery expenses and for a good reason. Prices are higher than they've been in recent memory with no sign of slowing down.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) expects food prices to rise between 2.5% and 3.5% by the end of 2022. Inflation, pandemic-related labor shortages, and supply chain issues cause increasing food costs.
How Much Have Grocery Prices Increased?
If you've been to the grocery store in the past few months, you've undoubtedly noticed higher prices. While the overall increase is alarming, a closer look at various food categories shows just how expensive shoppers can expect items to get, according to the USDA:
- Beef and veal: +16.2%
- Pork: +14%
- Poultry: +12.5%
- Fish and seafood: +10.4%
- Eggs: +11.4%
- Dairy: +5.2%
- Fats and oils: +11.7%
- Fresh fruits: +10.6%
- Fresh vegetables: +4.3%
- Processed fruits and vegetables: +7.6%
- Sugars and sweets: +7%
- Cereals and bakery products: +7.8%
These prices are on top of the increase Americans have already seen. According to the USDA, food prices climbed 7.9% for the year ending in February 2022.
According to the department, this increase was “the largest 12-month advance since July 1981.”
Will We See Lower Food Costs in 2023?
With rising costs for farmers, supply chain issues, and the increase in fuel needed to deliver to grocery stores, prices aren't expected to decrease in the near future.
If you are among those looking for ways to cut back on your increasing grocery expense, it may be time to incorporate new money-saving measures.
Must We Eat Rice and Beans From Now On?
The short answer? No, but your budget would thank you if you did. Eating rice and beans isn't the only way to cut back on groceries. Here are five tried-and-true approaches to spending less at the grocery store.
If you're not used to planning your menu, you may think it's too time-consuming and not want to do it. However, meal planning is the number one strategy you can use to lower your food budget.
By taking the time to intentionally choose the meals you make, you maintain control over how much you're going to spend. Make a point to select low-cost recipes, and be sure to include everything you'll need so you're not surprised by the total cost when you check out.
The key to saving money with menu planning is setting your budget and working backward to make your shopping list fit.
Shop Loss Leaders
Grocery stores have been using loss leaders to get shoppers into their stores for decades. These items are priced at or below what the store pays for them. Why do grocery stores do this? They know when you come in to buy that inexpensive item, you are very likely to purchase additional items they will make them a profit.
Milk and eggs are often sold as loss leaders as grocery stores use these staple ingredients to lure customers in for more profitable shopping. Take advantage of these sale prices in your menu plan.
Another example of a loss leader is Costco's rotisserie chicken. The company sells its chicken for only $4.99, making it a go-to purchase for many Costco shoppers. A quick Google search will help you find many low-cost ways to use rotisserie chicken in meals.
Nowadays, you're more likely to clip digital coupons than paper. However you find them, this is another money-saving strategy that has been around for decades.
While the face value of the coupon is obvious, savvy coupon clippers can save even more by learning how to double or even triple stack coupons. If you don't receive coupons regularly in the mail or newspaper, most grocery stores now offer digital coupons, making it easy to “clip” even as you shop.
A recent study by CouponFollow finds the average American household could save as much as $1,465 per year — simply by taking advantage of online and mobile coupon codes.
Their study also found that shoppers could save the most annually by using online coupons for grocery and at-home food, which nets $316 in savings.
Use Curbside Pick Up or Shop Online
Online shopping (whether for home delivery or curbside pick-up) saves you time by not having to do the physical shopping yourself, and you're also less likely to impulse buy.
The average person spends $314 per month on impulse purchases (including groceries), up from $276 in 2021 to $183 in 2020.
Grocery stores have spent millions of dollars studying shoppers' habits and strategically placed high-profit items for you to walk by and grab. Not being in the store in the first place removes the temptation to impulse to buy products that weren't on your list.
As grocery prices continue to rise with no relief in sight, there are ways you can be proactive in protecting your grocery budget. Start with a menu plan that includes loss leaders, clip coupons (especially digital), and place your orders online. Stick to these money-saving strategies and you'll be able to ease some of the pain caused by rising food prices.
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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
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Karee Blunt is the founder of OurWovenJourney.com, a travel blog focused on inspiring others to create memory-making adventures with their loved ones. Karee is passionate about encouraging others to step out of their comfort zone and live the life they dream of. She is the mother of six kids, including four through adoption, and lives with her family in the Pacific Northwest. You can learn more about Karee on her about me page.