If you've been experiencing sticker shock at the grocery store, you're not alone. The cost of food has been on the rise — and it shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, according to recent data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), food inflation might soon be the highest since 2008.
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The data was released in the monthly update on the Food Price Outlook for 2022, which is handled by the Economic Research Service (ERS) of the USDA. Basically, the ERS predicts food price changes for the year based on monthly data. In late March, the ERS increased its price predictions based on the past month's new info.
If these predictions actually happen, it will be the highest price hike since 2008 — about 14 years ago. Specifically, the ERS increased its price predictions for the following categories: meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, fresh fruits, processed fruits and vegetables, fats and oils, sugars and sweets, cereals and bakery products, and non-alcoholic beverages. In other words, it will involve a lot food.
The exception? Fresh vegetables. According to the USDA report, the predictions for this category have been revised downward, meaning the price hikes for fresh veggies will be lower than expected.
Still, it's important to note that certain factors — like the conflict in Ukraine — might shift food prices in either direction. "The situations will be closely monitored to assess the net impacts of these concurrent events on food prices as they unfold," stated the USDA.
How to save money on groceries:
One of the easiest ways to save cash on food is to avoid shopping hungry. Otherwise, you might end up buying extra food you don't actually need.
You can also save money using the following strategies:
- Plan meals around ingredients in your pantry.
- Stock up on staples when they go on sale.
- Buy in bulk, if possible.
- Sign up for your supermarket's rewards program.
- Learn how to store food properly to avoid wasting food.
If you have a green thumb, growing your own herbs and vegetables can also help.