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Grocery Staples Are Getting More Expensive. These 6 Foods Will Likely See the Biggest Price Increases

Get your grocery budget ready, because these key foods are about to become even more costly.

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If you’ve been watching your weekly grocery shopping trips creep up, becoming increasingly expensive over the last few months, I have some bad news for you. The price hikes aren’t over yet. More are coming, and these upcoming increases are going to strike some of the most commonly-purchased grocery goods. 

As ongoing inflation drives the cost of everyday essentials up to their highest prices in decades, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced that shoppers should expect to see the prices of all food items continue to increase in the months ahead. And it’s not just grocery stores that will be stocking their shelves with more expensive items. The USDA expects the cost of dining at restaurants and ordering takeout to rise by as much as 4 percent by the end of the year. While it might seem like our grocery essentials can’t get any more expensive, everything is going to go up.

But the USDA does expect certain grocery goods to increase in price more than others. Which foods will see the highest hikes? Here’s which foods you can expect to reach new price highs. 

1. Poultry

Chicken is usually an affordable, highly versatile protein. But unfortunately, poultry is predicted to become a noticeably more expensive meat soon. The USDA predicts that poultry prices will rise by 6 to 7 percent. And it’s not just fresh chicken or a particular cut – all chicken, fresh and frozen, will likely be affected. 

This significant increase is partly due to inflation and partly due to a scarcity issue. An ongoing outbreak of a fast-spreading avian influenza virus is limiting supply of both chicken and eggs. Currently, frozen chicken in particular is seeing the biggest impact, with historically low frozen chicken stock available in the US. 

2. Fats and oils

You might want to stock up on a few extra bottles of cooking oils and fats right now, because prices are going to rise in the coming weeks. The USDA anticipates that the cost of your typical fats and oils will rise between 6 and 7 percent this year.

While this price hike will likely directly hit your wallet as you buy items like olive, coconut, avocado or other oils and butter or ghee, it may also appear in some other foods, too. Foods and goods that include oils and fats in their ingredients lists will likely also see a rise in their manufacturing costs – and those added costs might drive up the prices for you, the consumer.

3. Fresh and processed fruits

Fruit of all kinds is going to see potential price increases of as much as 6 percent. The USDA’s report suggests that fresh fruit prices could rise by 5 to 6 percent, while the price of processed fruits will likely increase by 4.5 to 5.5 percent. That’s right: Processed fruits and fruit-based foods may become cheaper than fresh options.

You may see similar increases on fresh and processed vegetables, too. However, the USDA suggests that vegetables may be more stable in their pricing over the next few months. 

4. Dairy products

No, you’re not imagining it: Dairy prices have been rising at crazy levels since the start of the year. And unfortunately, the cost of dairy products isn’t expected to slow down. According to the USDA’s predictions, dairy items like milk, cheese, yogurts and sour cream are expected to rise by another 4 to 5 percent this year. 

What’s sending dairy prices skyrocketing? Well, it’s a bit of a supply and demand issue. Demand for dairy products has increased noticeably, and as a result, dairy companies are upping the cost as they try to meet that newly heightened demand. 

5. Sugars and sweets (including cereals and juices)

Sweet treats – and all different kinds of sugars – are about to get more expensive. Per the USDA’s estimates, the price of both sugar and sweets, like candies, will likely increase between 3 and 4 percent. That means that anything and everything that uses some variety of sugar in its ingredients list is likely to see a higher price.

And it’s not just your favorite candies, cookies, cakes and packages of sugar that’ll see price hikes. The USDA also expects cereals and bakery goods to increase by 3 to 4 percent this year. Juices, which often contain sugars and sweeteners, may rise even more; it’s predicted that nonalcoholic beverages will rise by 3.5 to 4.5 percent. 

6. Eggs

It’s not just chicken that’s going to be rising in price – eggs, another popular poultry product and kitchen staples, are also expected to see price increases. The cost of eggs has already increased by 2.2 percent this year, and the USDA estimates that there will be another increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent. 

Eggs are essential for breakfasts, baking and plenty of other recipes. But it’s not demand that’s causing the cost of eggs to rise; that same avian influenza outbreak mentioned earlier is limiting the number of eggs that make it into grocery stores. As a result, there simply aren’t enough eggs to meet current demand, making prices extra expensive on top of inflation. 

What you can do about sky-high grocery prices

While the five foods mentioned above are expected to see high prices, they certainly aren’t the only grocery staples that are likely to keep rising alongside inflation. Overall, the USDA anticipates that all food prices will increase anywhere from 4.5 to 5.5 percent by the end of 2022, with groceries in particular rising from 3 to 4 percent total.

But not all grocery store staples will see prices rise at these same rates. While some essential foods will see big jumps, there are a select few that may not. The USDA specifically calls out fresh vegetables, for example, as a category of foods that may actually see some stability (or slightly lower increases) in cost.

So, if you’re looking for ways to keep your grocery budget under control in the face of all of this inflation, you may want to consider adjusting your daily diet. Buying more price-stable foods, or foods that will see less of a price increase, can help you keep your budget from creeping upwards too significantly. 

And you can also try these tips to cut costs:

Opt for generic, not brand name. Brand-name products tend to be noticeably more expensive than their generic counterparts and, typically, there’s not much of a difference between the two. You likely won’t notice a difference in taste or nutritional value, especially when you’re opting for staples like canned foods.

Frozen is often cheaper than fresh. While fresh produce is often affordable, choosing frozen varieties can be a significant cost savings. You’ll find packages of frozen fruits and vegetables – including some already chopped for you! – priced at just $1 to $2. Plus, since frozen foods last longer than fresh, you won’t run the risk of throwing out spoiled, uneaten food.

Consider buying in bulk. Buying in bulk isn’t always the cheapest way to shop. Bulk buying can lead you to spend more and waste more at times, making it pretty pricey. But for some items, like canned foods you use frequently, eggs, your favorite milk or frozen fruits and veggies, bulk can be cheaper. Do a little price research before you shop to see if it’s more budget-friendly to go single-serve or bulk.

Look for coupons, cash back and weekly savings. Don’t just head to the grocery store without any preparation. You can do some digging to find coupons, weekly sale announcements and ads, and even cash back apps that’ll help you keep a few more dollars in your bank account each week. From in-store rewards programs to smartphone apps that let you earn cash back while you shop, these efforts might seem minor, but they can add up to extra cash over time.

For more money-saving shopping tips for grocery staples, keep reading:

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