The price of just about everything these days seems exorbitant, as the US Department of Labor announced that from March 2021 to March 2022, every category jumped by 8.5 percent on average. Unfortunately, the most severely impacted categories are our most basic necessities: food, petrol, and shelter. Food costs have increased by 8.8% in the last year, and they aren’t anticipated to level out anytime soon.
While there are some clever ways to save money at the grocery store during inflation, the Department of Labor’s monthly Consumer Price Index data are one of the most useful tools we have. These studies show how inflation has affected every category of food, from baked products to frozen seafood to spices, month by month and year by year.
To help guide your grocery habits in these tough times, we’ve broken it down to identify the five food categories most affected by inflation, as well as the five that have suffered the least influence in the last 12 months.
The 5 Most Affected Foods by Inflation
Inflation has had the greatest impact on the following foods between March 2021 and March 2022. It’s important to keep up with the most recent monthly Consumer Price Index statistics to see how prices are changing on average.
1. Fruits of citrus
Unfortunately, citrus is the food most hit by inflation, with a staggering 19.5 percent increase in price in the last year. According to the analysis, oranges of all kinds are experiencing the most alteration compared to lemons, limes, and grapefruit.
While we enjoy this sweet-tart fruit for its flavour and immune-boosting vitamin C content, there are lots of alternative foods that haven’t been affected by inflation and contain even more vitamin C than an orange. Broccoli, bell peppers, and kiwi are all favourites.
2. Sausage with bacon
Meat products are probably one of the goods that has had the most impact on your money. Bacon, sausage, and other processed pig items have taken the brunt of the price increases in the meat category, with prices on average 16.5 percent higher than last year. Bacon, in instance, has increased by 18 percent.
It’s worth looking at local or regional farmers’ and butchers’ goods to see if you can find a better deal on bacon, and the frozen aisle for better sausage costs. You may also vary your consumption by substituting plant-based options like homemade Vegan Bacon or veggie sausage to get your hit while also stretching your cash.
3. Bread and crackers
Bread and crackers, which are usually among the most cost-effective items in the market, have seen a 16.3 percent increase in price due to inflation. According to CNN, this is due in part to Ukraine selling less wheat and grain goods as a result of its war with Russia, which has a global impact. (Russian wheat and grain products are currently unavailable for export.) These countries account for over 30% of worldwide wheat and grain exports, thus this is a major setback for countries all over the world.
Unfortunately, this means that we won’t be seeing any relief in this category anytime soon. Bread may be frozen to extend its shelf life, and using stale bread in recipes like Panzanella Salad or Roasted Garlic & Leek Bread Casserole can help you get the most out of your loaf and avoid waste. You might have more luck shopping at local bakers, however flour is also very pricey right now.
4. Veal with beef
Beef is another meat product that has been hit hard by inflation, with overall prices up 16 percent. Uncooked beef steaks have increased by 16.4% year over year, while veal has increased by a whopping 18.8%.
Ground beef can save you money over other beef products, but you’ll save much more if you stretch it out as much as possible. Try Grilled Beef-Mushroom Burgers with Quick Pickles, or make Cowboy Beef & Bean Chili with an extra can of beans. Pick up some dried beans to save even more money at the cash checkout.
5. Certain oils and fats
The whole fats and oils category has increased by an average of 14.9 percent in the last year, with margarine and nut butters witnessing the most significant price increases—both by 15.8 percent. This could be just the motivation you need to reintroduce butter into your cooking routine, as it has experienced the smallest increase in the category.
Furthermore, cooking with olive oil may be preferable than sunflower, vegetable, or soy oil, according to the World Economic Forum, because these oils have seen one of the highest price increases worldwide. It may be worthwhile to buy your favourite olive oil and nut butters in bulk online or at retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, especially if you have numerous mouths to feed at home. You can create nut butter at home as well.
Inflation Has Little Impact on These 5 Foods
Finally, some encouraging news! While all food categories have suffered price increases in the last year, there are still lots of favourites with much smaller increases than those listed above. When feasible, seek out local or regional producers, and search the canned aisles and freezer areas for several of these options to stretch your cash even further.
Tomatoes, surprisingly, have witnessed the smallest price increase in the last year, at just 1.7 percent. This is fantastic news as you get ready for the summer abundance. Beautiful heirloom varieties may have already arrived at local farmers’ markets and stores in certain states.
Tomatoes are high in the antioxidants lycopene, beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which assist to protect the heart, decrease blood pressure, and prevent chronic disease. Plus, if you buy too many tomatoes, there are plenty of ways to transform them into tasty recipes.
Another plus: inflation hasn’t had a significant impact on cheese pricing, at least as of this month. This is particularly intriguing in light of the fact that other dairy products, such as whole milk, have increased by 14.5 percent. Cheese has a long list of health benefits, ranging from muscle building to preventing heart disease and diabetes (yes, really!).
Additionally, you can freeze some cheeses, allowing you to take advantage of BOGO offers or shop in bulk while prices are still low. To entice youngsters to eat more vegetables, consider combining different cheeses, such as in the One-Pot Mac & Cheese with Cauliflower & Brussels Sprouts.
3. Vanilla Ice Cream
Your inner child will be delighted to read that ice cream prices have only increased by 3.1 percent in the last year. Despite the fact that budgets are tighter than ever, you may feel comfortable about picking up your family’s favourite carton when the weather warms up. Due to inflation, ice cream will be a more cost-effective celebratory treat than other desserts (like baked goods) right now, so get inspired in the kitchen with these 15 Ice Cream Cake and Pie Recipes.
4. The potato
Many Americans have long considered potatoes to be a staple diet because of its numerous health benefits. Thankfully, the price of potatoes has only risen by 3.4 percent in the last year. Aside from being delicious, potatoes provide fibre, are a good source of B vitamins and potassium, and are good for your gut since they contain resistant starch. They’re also extremely adaptable.
Potatoes are a beloved item for lengthening meals, whether you’re buying frozen hash browns or a bag of fresh russets. Buying potatoes in bulk rather than one or two at a time saves money, so make sure you store them correctly.
5. Fish and seafood in cans
Finally, a major supply of protein that hasn’t been significantly damaged by inflation. From pasta dishes to salads and casseroles, we love cooking healthy, delicious, and cost-effective recipes with canned tuna, salmon, and other tinned seafood. Furthermore, purchasing canned salmon allows you to enjoy all of the wonderful omega-3 health advantages without having to spend for pricey fillets.
Instead of your usual beef burgers, try preparing salmon burgers with tinned salmon. Don’t be hesitant to use anchovies to enhance the flavour and texture of any savoury dish, whether it’s a simple bowl of pasta or a hefty chicken dish.
While some foods, such as citrus, bread, and meat, have seen significant price increases due to inflation, others, such as tomatoes, potatoes, and cheese, have stayed relatively stable. Using some innovative substitutions or applications for both pricey and less expensive foods will help you keep track of your grocery spending.