Consumer Price Index: How Much Did Inflation Impact Grocery Prices in 2022?

An envelope full of cash with the word "Groceries" printed on it, with other envelopes in the background.
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In 2022, eating a well-balanced diet had a large impact on a well-balanced checkbook as the price of groceries has climbed consistently over the past 12 months. 

With the latest data in the Consumer Price Index, released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Tuesday, Dec. 13, groceries went up by 0.5% as of November. While that’s a stark downturn from the record-high price jumps seen earlier in the year, inflation is still a problem for many trying to keep on a budget at the grocery store.

When all 12 months are considered, the “food at home” category in the CPI showed a total 12% spike in cost. In simple math, that means a $4 carton of eggs in 2021 would now cost $4.48 — or, more dramatically, a weekly $200 grocery bill in 2021 would be $224 in 2022. That’s a cost increase of $96 per month.

There are also some particular food groups that continue to bear the brunt of the cost increases. Per the CPI, four of the six grocery food indexes were up month over month. Fresh fruits and vegetables went up 1.4% in November (this, after falling by 0.9% the month prior). Cereals and bakery products are also up 1.1% and dairy and related goods went up 1% for November. Nonalcoholic beverages such as bottled water and soda also jumped by 0.7% last month. 

There are some external factors for some of these price hikes, for example, anything using wheat (like cereals and bakery products) is more expensive now than in 2021 (by 16.4% year over year) due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. As the USDA explains, Eastern Europe is one of the biggest exporters of wheat. Per a release by the organization, “Over the last 18 months, wheat prices have risen nearly 110 percent.” 

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Likewise, Russia is one of the most prominent producers of fertilizer, notes the USDA, which has also impacted farmers who cultivate fresh fruits and vegetables, hence why that food group is also seeing price jumps. 

Yet there are a few types of grocery items that have gone down in price in November, as noted by the CPI. The category of meats, poultry, fish and eggs decreased by 0.2% and the beef index dropped by 0.8%; pork went down 0.3%. 

Part of the reason, says, is because supply has now met up with demand and people are “buying cheaper cuts of beef.” Yet, ongoing droughts, avian flu and the cost of feed for animals have impacted the meat market and, as such, that category is still 6.8% more expensive year over year. 

The discussion around food prices will continue to be well into 2023 since the cost of groceries continues to outpace overall inflation.

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