New Data Paints Clearer Picture On Rising Food Prices Through 2022

It's hard not to feel trepidatious each time you walk into a grocery store after the significant increases in food prices throughout 2022. Partly attributed to weather affecting crops, diseases affecting eggs and lettuce (among others), and the ongoing war in Ukraine, the significant rise in food prices left families having to make tough decisions on what to spend their money on and forced restaurants to revise their menu prices this year. Now a new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is showing just how much shoppers had to deal with increased food costs in the past year. 

One of the most dramatic increases was seen in the cost of a dozen eggs in the past year, which went up 55.4% during the course of 12 months ending in February 2023. However, there is some good news when it comes to the price of eggs: data shows that egg prices declined 36.1% in February, according to AP News. As of February, eggs were selling for about $2.61 for a dozen on average compared to as much as $5.43 in 2022. Overall, grocery store prices rose by 0.3% from January to February in 2023, which is an indication of higher food prices still remaining in place for many items in 2023.

Prices rose across all food groups

While eggs may have been one of the more notable food items to increase in price in 2022, other commonly used items saw significant upticks in cost like margarine (39.8%), butter (20.7%), cheese (9.4%), milk (8.1%), and ice cream (13.9%). It wasn't only dairy items that had escalated prices during the year, the cost of bread spiked by 15.8%, while poultry cost shoppers 9.5% more. 

Veggies were also hit with cost increases. Lettuce crops, which were affected by weather and disease in 2022, increased in cost by about 10.4%, while the cost of potatoes rose even more at 13.5%. Both frozen and fresh fruits and vegetables increased in cost in 2022, with fresh going up by about 5.3% and frozen by as much as 15.8%.

There is a bright spot in all of this — in addition to eggs, some food items are witnessing a mild decline in price in February compared to January, including lettuce (down 4.7%), butter (declined 1.9%), and bacon (dipped 1.5%). 

With so many factors from war to bad weather and inflation at play, it's hard to say when prices will stabilize. For now, though, it seems grocery costs will still have many tightening their belts.