The prices of groceries are high. Many stores had to increase their prices when they hit record losses due to supply chain issues, riots and economic downturns. When supply is low but demand remains high, it increases the price of the goods or services affected. This rate at which prices increase over a specific period of time is called inflation and is often measured in broad terms, such as the general rise in prices or the rise in a nation's cost of living.
The US Department of Agriculture states, “Average annual food-at-home prices were 3.5 percent higher in 2023 than in 2021” (U.S. Department Of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service, 2023). The increases in prices have been more recognizable in urban communities where a large number of consumers are receiving government assistance. “All urban consumers increased 8.3 percent for the year ended August 2022” (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, 2022). Manufacturing, storage, and retail sources of food were among the many areas of the supply chain that were impacted by the pandemic. A few of these food supply chain issues are still present today. The price of many products, including milk, coffee, fruits and vegetables, have increased by over 10%, with eggs reaching an increase of 39.8%.
The labor shortage has not helped the cost of food. Many workers who made, transported and sold food decided to not return to the workforce. Therefore, suppliers had to increase their pay rates to entice workers to re-enter the workforce. Employers are having to pay more for help and are passing those costs onto the consumer.
Philicia Wheately, a fifth grade teacher, thinks that more should be done to help those who are struggling. “While I do understand that consumers need to keep up with supply and demand, I also believe that there has to be an understanding that some people are going without because they cannot provide for their families.” CTA employee Shonda Brown states, “When I go grocery shopping for my family, I try to shop on a budget and look for sales. The packaging of items is way smaller due to inflation.” Sadly, it seems these price increases are here to stay. People may just need to adjust to this new norm of inflated prices.