Inflation drives up food prices at grocery stores, economics experts weigh in

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) – As inflation hits a new 40-year high in the United States, shoppers are seeing the effects on their wallets as prices for gasoline, groceries and household items increase.

Families across the country, including the Richmond area, say they are spending more at the supermarket with rising costs.

“On average I used to spend $150, but now I’m spending $250,” Ben Toney said.

Midlothian resident Lauren Blackburn also described the impact she is feeling from these rising costs.

“Before spending, a family of four, $200 to $300 a week on groceries,” Blackburn said. “Now it’s almost $500.”

This comes as inflation soars 8.5%. According to the USDA Consumer Price Index, food prices were almost 9% higher than in March 2021.

The USDA also predicts that food prices in grocery stores and supermarkets will increase by 5-6%.

Meat, poultry and fish are some of the food items whose prices are rising, forcing shoppers like Curtis Smith to stretch his meals.

“I changed some meals, reduced,” he said. “Suppose I buy a whole chicken. I could break it down and make a chicken salad or some kind of barbecue.

Christopher Herrington, an economics professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said several factors were driving the high costs, including rising energy costs and strong demand.

“Some of them also increase costs on the producer side,” Herrington said. “They are seeing higher costs on their end and passing some of that on to consumers. Some of them continue to be supply chain disruptions and not being able to get all the raw ingredients. »

Tom Arnold, who is a professor of finance at the University of Richmond, said the state of the labor market is also a factor in this.

“There are a ton of job openings, but not a ton of people accepting the jobs, so now it’s going to cost more to hire people,” he said.

As the Federal Reserve seeks to rein in inflation by raising interest rates, Herrington says relief will take time.

“The Fed doesn’t want to raise rates too quickly for exactly the reason we just talked about, which is they don’t want to cause a recession,” Herrington said. “It will not happen overnight. It’s going to be months and maybe even a few years before we see inflation come down to, you know, around that 2% target.

Price buyers work with a budget and sales documents.

“For the most part, just bulk sales and purchases,” Blackburn said.

Herrington also believes wheat prices will rise in the near future as the war continues in Ukraine.

The April consumer price index will be released on Wednesday.

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