Special Report

19 Groceries Driving Up Your Bill the Most During Pandemic

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19. Flour and prepared flour mixes
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +4.5%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: May 2013

The price of flour and prepared flour mixes rose by 4.5% between February, a month before the coronavirus pandemic was declared a national emergency in the United States, and June. As is the case with many items on this list, the price increase for flour is likely tied to a surge in demand.

Flour is a critical ingredient in baking — an activity that surged in popularity as Americans have been confined to their homes during the pandemic. Vermont-based company King Arthur Flour reported a 2,000% increase in flour sales in March 2020 compared to the same month the previous year.

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18. Shelf stable fish and seafood
> Price increase, Feb. — June 2020: +4.6%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: May 2020

The price of shelf stable fish and seafood, which includes items like canned tuna and sardines, climbed by 4.6% from February to June. During that period, these grocery items hit their highest price point in over a decade. Shelf stable fish and seafood are one of several grocery categories on this list that can last for extended periods of time without spoiling. Sales of many grocery items with a long shelf life spiked during the initial phases of the pandemic, likely contributing to the increase in price.

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17. Fresh sweetrolls, coffeecakes, doughnuts
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +4.8%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: June 2020

Fresh sweetrolls, coffeecakes, doughnuts is one several breakfast food categories to rank on this list. The 4.8% price increase of these and other breakfast items at the grocery store is likely tied to increased demand. With a record number of Americans working from home after lockdown measures have been instituted, demand for items such as sweetrolls and doughnuts — that under normal circumstances might be purchased during a commute — spiked at grocery stores (for home consumption – optional. These items cost more in June 2020 than in at least the last 10 years.

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16. Carbonated drinks
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +5.1%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: June 2020

Like other items on this list, there was a surge in soft drinks sales during the pandemic. Increased demand may help explain the 5.1% increase in the price of carbonated drinks from February to June. As of June 2020, carbonated drinks cost more at grocery stores than they have at any point since at least 2010.

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15. Soups
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +5.1%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: April 2020

Rising in price by 5.1% between February and June, soup is one of several items on this list that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has hit its highest price in U.S. grocery stores in the last 10 years. Soup sold in grocery stores has a long shelf life and can be consumed many months after purchase. Early in the pandemic, soup sales were up over 100% from the same time the previous year.

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