Grocery store prices were 5.6% higher in June 2020 compared with June 2019 as retail prices increased for all food-consumed-at-home categories except for fresh fruits, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest Consumer Price Index data.
Many of the increases were influenced by the coronavirus pandemic, USDA said, explaining, “The pandemic disrupted supply chains of several commodities — and affected consumers’ food spending patterns — which put upward pressure on wholesale and retail food prices.”
USDA added that the spring 2020 schools closures and stay-at-home orders resulted in the dairy industry having to shift from supplying products for schools and restaurants to supplying products for grocery stores and other food retailers (food consumed at home). USDA said adapting to this transition placed upward pressure on retail prices for dairy products, which rose 5.1% from June 2019 to June 2020.
Beef also experienced supply chain disruptions as decreased slaughter volumes due to COVID-19 led to a bottleneck in supply, which boosted prices.
Retail beef and veal prices in June 2020 were 25.1% higher than in June 2019, with much of that increase occurring after February 2020, USDA noted.
Other commodities also saw increases in retail prices. Egg prices increased 12.1% since June 2019, and pork and poultry prices increased 11.8% and 8.7%, respectively.
The red meat category showed a 16.7% year-over-year rise in retail prices.