A trip to the grocery store these days might leave you with sticker shock.
Markets like Vons and Pavilions in South Pasadena and nearby Ralphs and Albertsons are all experiencing higher prices as, according to the U.S. Labor of Statistics, from March to April prices were the highest in nearly 50 years, affecting millions around the country.
The biggest increase has been in meats, poultry, fish and eggs — up 4.5 percent. Fruits and vegetables increased 1.7 percent, and cereals and bakery goods 2.7 percent. All groceries increased 2.6 percent.
Why is it happening? Like you learned in economics class – supply and demand. Meat plants have been hit with the coronavirus pandemic and are down to 70 percent of their normal capacity, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The demand for ground beef products, in short supply, is high. Some stores are limiting customers to certain quantities to ensure availability for everyone while posting signage: “We apologize for any inconvenience.”
As a result of stay-at-home orders, Americans are shopping at the grocery store more than ever. When the crisis began, more people began cooking at home as restaurants closed (outside of takeout), making it difficult for food producers and farmers to keep up with demand.
Higher prices come at a time when 36.8 million people have lost their job amid COVID-19, tightly stretching budgets.
Advice from some shopping experts include going to dollar stores for packaged goods and purchase store brands at major markets to receive a discount. Signing up for a store’s reward’s program is recommended along with seeking online coupons that can be used at checkout.
However, many stores are no longer offering weekly specials because demand for food is so high.