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Grocery Inflation: Avoiding fear at the cashier

How to get the most bang for your buck while being healthy
Grocery
Posted at 3:28 PM, Aug 30, 2022

LAFAYETTE, L.a. — Higher prices at the grocery store may lead to some pretty hefty pain in the pocketbook.

According to the US Department of Agriculture's forecast, "food-at-home" or grocery store food costs increased as a whole by 1.4 percent from June of this year to July. That's 13.1 percent higher than July of last year. Food-at-home prices are predicted to increase in total by between 10 and 11 percent by the end of 2022, which is above the increases seen in the last two years.

Per the forecast, prices are expected to increase slower in 2023 compared to 2022, but they'll still have historic average rates — predicted to go up by two and three percent on top of this — all adding up to what industry experts consider the highest levels of inflation in about 40 years.

The Consumer Price Index corroborates this as the groceries with the largest cost increase overall are your meats, poultry, fish, and eggs; followed by fresh fruits and vegetables; then your pre-packaged cereals and baked goods. Along with this, because of inflation and supply chain issues, manufacturers are shrinking sizes while the price you pay may stay around the same or even go up. This is becoming better known as "shrinkflation."

So what are you supposed to do while still feeding the family and getting the nutritional value you need?

"It's really about making your meals and ingredients stretch, while still making sure to get those nutrient-dense foods incorporated into your diet," said Yvette Quantz, a registered dietitian local to Lafayette. "And it doesn't have to break the bank."

Here are some tips:

  • Shop local and make use of coupons — local markets typically lack higher prices from shipping costs and a "middle man. Coupons are easier to clip now than ever before with digital options.
  • Shop in the freezer aisle for produce, nuts, and meats. Frozen usually costs less than fresh.
  • Make a list and map your weekly shopping ahead of time. This also helps you plan which coupons to use.
  • Choose to substitute beans for meat in your meals at least once a week. They're significantly cheaper while maintaining healthy levels of protein.

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