Special Report

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

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15. Fresh whole milk
> One year price increase: +4.7%

The price of fresh whole milk was initially in decline when COVID-19 hit. Dairy farmers were forced to dump their supply because of falling demand as major milk consumers like schools and restaurants were shuttered. In the summer, with a surge in seasonal demand but with supply still low, prices surged and have remained relatively high. Milk prices rose 4.7% over the past year.

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14. Bread other than white
> One year price increase: +4.8%

Breads other than white breads, like multigrain varieties, increased 4.8% in price throughout 2020. Much of this increase occurred at the very beginning of the pandemic, when restaurants were initially shuttered. The price of non-white bread varieties increased nearly 3.5% from March to April 2020.

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13. Processed fish and seafood
> One year price increase: +4.9%

Processed fish and seafood products were nearly 5% more expensive in January 2021 than 12 months earlier. While demand for fish and seafood actually dropped sharply in the earlier months of the pandemic, supply chains were interrupted. Prices for seafood increased as consumers sought beef alternatives beginning in the summer of 2020.

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12. Juices and nonalcoholic drinks
> One year price increase: +5.0%

Juices and nonalcoholic drinks were one of just 12 food and grocery categories that increased in price by at least 5% from January 2020 to January 2021. Like many other items on this list, the price of juice surged between March and April of 2020. The price of juices and nonalcoholic drinks has remained relatively high, peaking in January of 2021.

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11. Frozen fish and seafood
> One year price increase: +5.0%

The price of frozen fish and seafood increased by over 7.5% in April 2020 compared to the previous month. At that time, as more states issued stay-at-home orders, demand for frozen and shelf-stable seafoods significantly increased, especially compared to the same stretch of 2019.