Special Report

20 Groceries Driving Up Your Food Bill the Most

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15. Bacon, breakfast sausage, and related products
> 10-yr. price increase: 24.5%

Bacon and sausage is about 25% more expensive now than 10 years ago. As is the case for many food items on this list, the climb in the prices of breakfast meat is partially attributable to growing demand. Americans are projected to consume in 2019 an average of 52.3 pounds of pork, the most commonly used meat for bacon and sausage, up 7% from 48.9 pounds per capita in 2008, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Pork prices in the United States will likely be affected by the recently imposed Chinese tariffs. American pork is now subject to a 25% tax in China, which will likely reduce demand in that country and lower profits for American hog farmers. Where pork prices go from here remains to be seen.

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14. Frozen fish and seafood
> 10-yr. price increase: 24.7%

The U.S. aquaculture industry largely consists of catfish, trout, salmon, tilapia, hybrid striped bass, sturgeon, walleye, and yellow perch. Shrimp, salmon, and canned tuna make up more than half of seafood consumed in the United States. The vast majority of seafood Americans eat is imported. The increase in the price of seafood likely stems from rising demand for fish worldwide, particularly in China.

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13. Sauces and gravies
> 10-yr. price increase: 25.6%

Sauces and gravies cover a wide range of condiments that can go on anything from pasta to a sandwich. While prices for specific sauces and gravies may vary, on average, their prices have gone up by 25.6% over the last 10 years, faster than the 19.1% increase in prices across all grocery items.

The price increase is likely due in part to growing demand. Sauces and gravies are used to add flavor to food, and as such they are an unnecessary expense Americans today can better afford. Americans have more disposable income now than they did 10 years ago — the beginning of the Great Recession.

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12. Fats and oils
> 10-yr. price increase: 25.6%

There was a 25.6% increase in the price of fats and oils in the last decade. As is the case for many foods on this list, the climbing price of fats and oils was driven largely by growing demand — particularly for olive oil. The United States consumed 339,512 tons of olive oil in 2015, up 250% from 1990. Over the same period, global olive oil consumption climbed by a lower 73%. Olive oil contains certain healthy dietary fats and antioxidants, it may lower the risk of heart disease. Because of its purported health benefits, consumption is projected to continue to climb in the future as Americans become increasingly health conscious.

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11. Canned vegetables
> 10-yr. price increase: 25.7%

Canned vegetables have a longer shelf life than fresh produce as well as lower shipping and handling costs. While these factors generally contribute to lower prices, the rising demand of canned vegetables seems to have contributed to rising prices. According to the USDA, canned vegetable consumption tends to rise with age. The considerable growth of the U.S. elderly population over the last decade likely led to an increased demand for canned vegetables overall, contributing to the product’s sharp rise in the price.

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