Special Report

20 Groceries Driving Up Your Food Bill the Most During the Pandemic

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20. Frankfurters
> One year price increase: +4.4%

Frankfurters, a thin type of sausage, have had one of the largest price increases at American grocery stores from January 2020 to January 2021, at 4.4%. For context, all food items increased in price by 1.4% during that time.

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19. Rice
> One year price increase: +4.4%

Across American grocery stores, the price of rice had been in decline throughout 2019. Rice cost about 2.1% less in January 2020 than it did a year earlier. But as a growing number of consumers sought shelf-stable products like rice, prices grew rapidly, especially between March and April of 2020.

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18. Uncooked ground beef
> One year price increase: +4.4%

Of the 20 grocery items that increased in price the most from January 2020 to January 2021, 10 are meat products, like uncooked ground beef, poultry, or fish products. Meat prices spiked as demand increased — due to both households stocking meat over pandemic concerns and more people cooking at home — while supply chains were interrupted by outbreaks in meat plants.

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17. Cheese and related products
> One year price increase: +4.5%

Though the COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly had at least some effect on the U.S. cheese supply, the increase in cheese prices from January 2020 to January 2021 seems more a continuation of a trend. Through 2020, cheese prices grew by 3.5%.

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16. Sauces and gravies
> One year price increase: +4.7%

In the year-long stretch before the COVID-19 pandemic altered our lives — from February 2019 through February 2020 — the price of sauces and gravies had actually declined slightly. Amid the pandemic, the overall price of this food segment grew significantly, peaking in October before starting to decline. Stll, in January 2021, prices of sauces and gravies were 4.7% higher than they were a year earlier.