June 3, 2023

Food Prices Skyrocketing Again in Chicago, Rest of the U.S.

By Crystal Bennett

Prices for everything have skyrocketed since the pandemic, and food costs have risen to an uncomfortably high level. The outlook for a decline in prices does not appear to be anywhere in the near future.

Since the start of the pandemic there have been devastating blows made mentally, physically, and financially to every entity and individual in the world. The U.S. suffered tremendous economic chaos and upheaval while Covid-19 spread like wildfire wreaking havoc on America’s population. Businesses were shut down and thousands were laid off due to the mandatory shelter-in-place mandates.

For more than three years the pandemic waged. Just this year on 5 May 2023, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that Covid-19 was no longer a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The financial hardship of the pandemic has made a more than significant impact on the spending power of consumers and producers. The need to increase the debt ceiling means that there is a drastic shortage in America’s money supply which then creates the inevitable rise in the prices of goods and services.

Families are paying out the yin yang at the pump and have also been having to pay excessive amounts to keep healthy food on their dining room tables. Pre pandemic food prices are a thing of the past. According to data from the most recent consumer price index (CPI) report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, there has been a 7.7% increase in food prices since April 2022.

According to the data in the chart, the most substantial increases in food have been seen with the price of eggs, fats and oils, processed fruits and vegetables, sugar and sweets and nonalcoholic beverages. Jack Flynn, a writer with Zippia, did some research and found the monthly average cost of groceries in major cities across the states. Per person, the monthly cost of groceries in Chicago amounted to $327.31. In Hawaii the monthly average cost is $556.76.

The state with the lowest average cost is New Hampshire at a $183 average monthly rate for groceries. Remember, these averages are per person and do not account for an average family’s household including children. From April 2022 to present, inflation has increased 4.9%. The Department of Agriculture says that food prices have risen above historical-average rates. The chart shows the upper calculated change in percent of CPI for food prices predicted through 2003. So, although there are no sharp increases, Americans should not expect food prices to significantly decline and bring relief to our pockets any time soon.

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