5. Prescription drugs
> 10-yr. price increase: 39.1%
Despite heavy competition, pharmaceutical companies have raised the prices of prescription drugs in recent years. The prices of four of the 10 most popular prescription drugs in the United States — including arthritis drugs Humira and Enbrel — have more than doubled since 2011. Despite the rising costs, demand for drugs has continued to grow in recent years. The share of Americans using at least one prescription drug a month has risen from approximately 38% two decades ago to nearly half of all Americans, according to the CDC.
4. Beef and veal
> 10-yr. price increase: 42.4%
There is currently no shortage of meat in the United States. Meat’s high cost is primarily driven by strong demand, especially for beef and veal. Exports of these meats hit a record of 2.9 billion lbs in 2017 with Japan the top buyer. This demand has contributed to the increase of 42.4% in the price of beef and veal in the United States.
3. Shelf stable fish and seafood
> 10-yr. price increase: 42.5%
One factor affecting the cost of fresh fish is the rising cost of fishmeal, which has increased production costs of farmed seafood. Additionally, as the average consumer has become wealthier, demand for more expensive, high-end fish such as tuna and salmon increased, which drove the price of fresh seafood higher.
> 10-yr. price increase: 50.2%
While butter and margarine are considered substitute goods — increased in demand (in this case butter) for one often coincides with a decline in demand for the other — the prices of both rose in the past decade. The increase in margarine prices, however, outpaced the increase in butter prices over the past decade, spiking by 50.2% — faster than nearly any other grocery product.
1. Tobacco and smoking products
> 10-yr. price increase: 88.7%
The price of tobacco and smoking products in the United States nearly doubled in the past decade, rising by 88.7% from 2008 to 2018 — the largest increase of any grocery item in the country. The rise was largely because of a federal tax hike implemented on April 1, 2009, that increased the tax on cigarettes by 61.7 cents per pack. As a result, cigarette sales declined by 8.3% in 2009 alone — the largest decline in nearly 80 years.