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Food Prices Soar In August Continuing the Trend Upwards as Drought and COVID-19 Woes Continue

Published: September 11, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 18: Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) speaks before a Senate Republican Policy luncheon at the Russell Senate Office Building on May 18, 2021 in Washington, DC. Scott spoke on inflation and the rising cost of goods prior to the meeting. (Image: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics published on Sept. 10, filling American pantries is becoming increasingly more expensive with prices soaring to record highs on many food staples including beef, pork and chicken. 

In August, food prices again rose a full percentage point, up from six-tenths of a point in July and are showing no signs of stopping. Food inflation in May and June of this year was measured at 1.3 and 1.2 percentage points respectively. 

The cost of Beef and Veal rose a jaw-dropping 59.2 percent in August. Thanksgiving dinner this year will be noticeably more expensive as well with turkey experiencing an increase in price of a whopping 41.4 percent. 

Chicken saw an increase of 32 percent and pork 34.1 percent. Americans’ breakfast plates will come with a higher price tag as well as fresh eggs saw an increase of 31.7 percent. 

Month-to-month some reprieve from the price hikes were realized in dairy products however, according to Trading Economics, milk saw an increase of 5 percent over the past year while cheese only saw an increase of 24 basis points over the same period.

Fresh fruit and vegetable prices were the only staples that saw a slight decrease in price however, cooking oils and shortening rose in price by a staggering 43.5 percent.

The increase in prices has been a consistent trend over the past 12-months hitting practically every sector of the foods industry. Coffee has experienced a 44.72 percent rise over the past 12-months and wheat is up 5.04 percent since August 2020.

In July, grocers across the U.S. began to stockpile food like frozen meat and sugar and other items such as cleaning supplies in an attempt to protect profits, keep prices low and compete in the market ahead of the anticipated price hikes.

The increase in prices is being partially blamed on heightened oil prices — which increases the cost of transporting goods — as well as drought conditions across the U.S. west and in Canada which is causing feed prices for livestock to soar. 

The confluence of the above factors, the COVID-19 pandemic and labor shortages are all contributing to price hikes on nearly everything that dons people’s dinner plates with little relief on the horizon.