LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If the number at the end of your grocery receipt keeps getting higher, you are not alone — the cost of groceries continues to rise across the country.
Grocery prices increased on average 3.5% over the last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a family of four, groceries could cost as much as $500 more per year.
In the last 12 months, all six major food group indexes saw an increase in cost. Unsurprisingly, the meats, poultry, fish and eggs category saw the biggest jump. Prices in that index went up 5.2% in the last 12 months.
The largest price increases belonged to uncooked beef and veal, beef roasts and frankfurters — all at least 8% more expensive.
It was citrus fruits, though, that saw the biggest jump of any food. According to the Consumer Price Index for February 2021, the cost of citrus fruits went up 9.5% over the last year.
Other popular grocery purchases like canned vegetables and carbonated drinks have become at least 6% more expensive.
The increase is not expected to end anytime soon. Patrick Penfield, professor of practice-supply chain management at the Whitman School of Management for Syracuse University, told Good Morning America that he expected prices to steadily rise for the next several months.
Prices have been increasing since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and bad winter weather and truck driver shortages have only added to the uptick in costs.
The index for food away from home (full-service and limited-service restaurants, food at schools and vending machines) has also increased 3.7% over the last 12 months. Limited service meals increased 6.3%, the largest yearly increase in the index began in 1997.
Experts encourage shoppers to stock up when they find a great price and shop brands that are either on sale or usually sell at a lower price. Visiting smaller grocery stores might also lead to better deals.