February 26, 2024

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Shoppers crushed by grocery store prices despite slowing inflation: Survey

Shoppers crushed by grocery store prices despite slowing inflation: Survey

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Americans are angry as they continue to be squeezed by rising grocery bills even as inflation approaches pre-coronavirus levels, according to a new survey.

Latest Axio Vibe Check Survey A study of 2,120 adults in December revealed that about 72% of participants felt inflation was still hitting hard at the grocery store.

Nearly 60 percent also said they feel angry, anxious and resigned when they shop for groceries while struggling to improve their budgets.

The negative sentiment at the grocery store comes as food prices continue to rise despite inflation falling since it reached a four-decade high of 9.1% last summer.

Now, at just 3.4%, inflation is close to the Fed's 2% target, but prices are not falling evenly.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that in December, the cost of groceries was still rising, with the cost of grains and bakery products up 2.6% and fruits and vegetables up 0.3% since last year.

The inflation rate in grocery prices in America rose to 13.5% in August 2022. US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Egg prices also rose by 8.9% compared to November, not only due to inflation, but also due to the effects of bird flu hitting the industry again.

Overall, the “home food prices” category rose 1.3% for 2023, a number that sounds small but comes after years of high costs and a 13.5% rise in August.

That means Americans who spent $100 on their grocery bills in 2019 will spend about $125.51 on the same amount of food in December, according to data from the BLS.

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Although prices have fallen from last year's peak, they remain stubbornly high, with the cost of grain rising 2.6% in December. Getty Images
Overall, it is estimated that Americans are spending 21% more on their grocery bill compared to pre-pandemic levels. Getty Images

This shows that Americans are still spending 21% more on their grocery bills than before the pandemic, a clear indication that inflation remains a sore topic for most consumers, according to the Axio survey.

Some of the anger may also stem from the fact that grocery prices have been falling after their highs in 2022, reaching more normal levels in the spring of 2023 before rising again in the fall.

While there is still hope that inflation will fall to pre-pandemic levels, a decline will likely not come anytime soon as the CPI remains volatile.

The vast majority of Americans report feeling angry and anxious when going out to buy groceries. Tada Pictures – Stock.adobe.com

Although inflation is relatively low at 3.4%, it actually represents an increase from the 3.1% recorded in November and higher than the 3.2% that economists had expected.

Despite the bumpy road ahead, Bill Adams, chief economist at Comerica Bank, said the latest BLS Consumer Price Index report showed that inflation is likely to continue to decline in 2024.

“The big picture is that the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic are fading, economic growth is settling into a more normal pace, and labor shortages are much less significant, helping to normalize inflation.” Adams wrote in an overview of the BLS report.

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