Americans today pay an average of 19.1% more on grocery items than they did 10 years ago. Over the same time, the inflation rate was just 16.3%.
Several key factors generally affect food prices in the long run. High oil prices increase the cost of shipping; droughts and floods cause shortages of certain crops; and a growing appetite for more expensive food from an increasingly affluent world population drives up overall demand — and prices — of food. Americans may also feel the effects of recently imposed tariffs on goods traded between China and the United States in the checkout aisle. This is particularly true of certain items like canned goods.
In the short run, the supply and demand of food is subject to factors such as weather, disease outbreak, and changing consumer preferences. In recent years, the California drought, the 2015 avian flu outbreak, and an increasing appetite for higher priced items such as organic foods in the United States and meat and dairy products in developing countries have caused some goods to appreciate in price far faster than most food items.
To determine the groceries driving up food bills the most, 24/7 Wall St. analyzed changes in the consumer price index from 2008 to 2018 for over 300 goods using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. To avoid repetition, we excluded certain items from the list when a similar product had a larger increase. For example, two items classified on the CPI — uncooked ground beef and beef and veal — each had substantial price increases. Only beef and veal, which had the larger 10-year increase, remained on the list. The prices of 20 grocery items increased by at least 21% over the last 10 years.
Correction: In a previous version of this story, several grocery items listed fell into multiple categories. To address this issue and avoid double counting, we only included the item or item category with the largest price increase.