Special Report

19 Groceries Driving Up Your Bill the Most During Pandemic

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4. Chicken
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +9.4%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: June 2020

Chicken is one of just four grocery items that have gotten more than 9% more expensive amid the pandemic. The nation’s chicken supply has been hampered as meat processors at several locations contracted COVID-19, forcing plant closures. This decreased supply, amid spiking demand, led to a 9.4% increase in chicken prices from February 2020 to June 2020.

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3. Citrus fruits
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +10.3%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: August 2018

The reason that almost every item on this list is increasing in price can be directly tied to COVID-19 — whether people are stocking up on the food because it is non-perishable or because the pandemic has interrupted supply. Citrus fruits, however, are an exception. Citrus fruits prices tend to start increasing around March each year because of seasonality. The over 10% increase in price for citrus fruits from February to June of 2020 is not uncommon. Citrus fruits tend to peak in price around September-October and bottom out around March, when most varieties are no longer in season.

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2. Pork chops
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +19.9%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: June 2020

Pork chops were nearly 20% more expensive in June 2020 than they were four months prior. Like many other meat products on this list, the supply of pork was impacted by the pandemic, when workers at meat processing plants fell ill with the virus and production was halted.

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1. Beef and veal
> Price increase, February-June 2020: +22.7%
> Priciest month for grocery item since 2010: June 2020

Beef and veal had by far the largest percentage price increase of any grocery product so far throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, spiking by 22.7% from February to June 2020. For comparison, the typical grocery item increased by 4.5% during that time.

Even before the pandemic, the price of beef and veal had increased by more than double the percentage increase of the typical grocery item since 2010. Once meat production plants were shut down due to workers contracting COVID-19, meat and veal prices spiked even more. The price of beef and veal was 79.2% higher in June 2020 than it was February 2010 even as the typical grocery item increased by just 18.9% in that time.