Home Business Grocery prices in August rose 13.5%, the highest increase since March 1979

Grocery prices in August rose 13.5%, the highest increase since March 1979

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Grocery prices in August rose 13.5%, the highest increase since March 1979


Despite inflation cooling down a bit in August, up 8.3%, Americans can still expect to pay up on their next trip to the grocery store.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ August Consumer Price Index (CPI), the overall cost of food rose 11.4%, with the food-at-home category, groceries, up 13.5% year-over-year. For the overall food category, that’s the highest increase since May of 1979, but for the food-at-home category, that’s the largest increase since March of 1979, according to Steve Reed, an economist at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

From July to August, the cost of groceries increased 0.7% month-over-month, lower than recent months, but still not near where it was back in December of 2021, only up 0.4%.

As far as what jumped in price the most, Reed told Yahoo Finance, “Prices are moving sort of broadly together. There’s not a huge amount of really noticeable jumps or declines compared to some other months.”

On a 12-month basis, cereal and bakery products led the spike with an increase of 16.4%, higher than year-over-year in July — with flour and prepared flour mixes also higher, up 23.3%. In part, this category was impacted by disruptions in grain markets caused by the war in Ukraine.

The leap was followed by the other food at-home categories, including dairy and related products, up 16.2%, with milk specifically up 17.0%, which is up 0.2% on monthly basis.

Meanwhile, the meats, poultry fish and eggs category is up 10.6%, largely in part due to the price of eggs, up 39.8%, up 2.9% compared to last month. Reed told Yahoo Finance eggs are “something that’s really risen quite a bit over the course of the pandemic period.”

As barbecue season winded down, the cost of frankfurters are still costly, up 18.3% year-over-year. Lunch-meats, a category that may be in focus ahead of back to school, up 18.2% year-over-year.

Reed told Yahoo Finance, he is also keeping a close eye on butter and margarine, up 29.3% overall, with butter, up 24.6%, and margarine, up 38.3%.

Nonalcoholic beverages also saw an increase of 0.5% month-over-month, with some relief in the coffee category, down 1.0% from July.

Higher prices were in part were driven up by the cost of transportation, which saw some relief as energy costs decreased 5.0% compared to July 2022, with gasoline down 10.6% month-over-month making it cheaper to transport goods, according to Reed.

Brooke DiPalma is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeDiPalma or email her at [email protected]

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