Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Americans paid more for groceries in pandemic 2020, study finds

The USDA says grocery store food prices rose by 3.5% compared to a year before.
Author:
Grocery shopping

Did it feel like your weekly shop cost you more last year? Well, it was.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic pushed grocery store prices higher than usual in 2020.

Over the past 20 years, grocery store food prices have risen at a rate of about 2% a year. Last year? It was 3.5%.

The USDA's review of grocery prices found that every "food-at-home" category rose in cost except for fresh fruits, which fell by 0.8% "because of domestic and international shifts in supply and demand."

That's because the various "stay at home" orders in the likes of India, China, and Taiwan "created port delays and staffing issues in the produce supply chain." As a result, American fruit exports fell, creating more supply domestically.

By contrast, meat prices saw the largest price increases in 2020. Beef and veal was up 9.6%, pork was up 6.3%, poultry rose by 5.6% and "other meat" rose by 4.4%.

This is more than double what these food categories typically increase by in a year, and the cause of the rise was the various COVID-19-related meat processing plant closures, which notably had an impact on plants in South Dakota, Iowa, and Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2021-03-19 at 11.16.30 AM

"Meat prices had not experienced this level of inflation since 2014, when drought and high feed prices combined to drive up retail prices," the USDA notes.

With restaurants and schools across the country closing due to "stay at home" orders, there was increased demand for several food products at grocery stores as a result. 

As well as meat, there were also significant increases in the prices of eggs, dairy, and non alcoholic drinks.

The last time that grocery food price inflation was as high as 3.5% was back in 20111, when a combination of poor weather, high fuel prices, international trade disruptions, and low commodity harvests impacted global food prices.

Next Up

D'Angelo Russell

D'Lo's late takeover helps Timberwolves win double-OT thriller

Russell caught fire to help the Timberwolves get back to .500.

Gopher Football

Gophers suffocate Badgers, reclaim Paul Bunyan's Axe

Minnesota picked up its first home win over the Badgers since 2003.

Meeker County Sheriff's Office

Boy, 6, run over after falling off trailer in Meeker Co. tree farm accident

He was airlifted to Hennepin County Medical Center with internal injuries.

Target store

Target unveils deals for 2-day 'Cyber Monday' event

The promotion kicks off Sunday, November 28.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.59.30 AM

Edina police warn of recent burglary trend targeting garages and vehicles

The Edina Police Department is increasing patrols in affected neighborhoods in response to the trend.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 9.03.06 AM

Charges: Man shot Uber Eats driver making a delivery in Cottage Grove

Otis Donnell Shipp was charged with second-degree attempted murder after turning himself in on Wednesday.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.36.14 AM

Waterfront hotel in Duluth sustains damage in kitchen fire

Authorities estimate the damage at around $75,000.

Screen Shot 2021-11-27 at 7.15.18 AM

Large groups of thieves target 2 Twin Cities Best Buys on Black Friday

It bears similarities to the flash-mob style thefts seen recently in California.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves' winning streak snapped at five games

The Wolves' bid for their longest winning streak since 2014 came up short.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

Teen arrested over fatal shooting of 5-year-old boy in Brooklyn Park

Police say the teen was filming a social media video while handling a gun.

Joe Biden

President Biden coming to Minnesota to promote Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

Tuesday's trip follows passage of the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal.

Related

Target - good and gather plant based

Target is launching more than 30 new plant-based grocery products

All are part of the company's hit Good & Gather brand.

Grocery shopping

Prices of consumer goods spike: Is inflation a concern?

Consumer prices jumped 4.2% over the past year - but there are explanations.

Screen Shot 2019-07-02 at 10.32.46 PM

Grocery store products from MN win People Food Awards

It follows the blind tasting of more than 1,200 grocery store products.

Family Fresh

Family Fresh closure leaves Farmington without a grocery store

Farmington's only grocery store closed on Friday.

Aldi's aggressive expansion continues as it opens latest Twin Cities store

It's on track to have the most grocery stores in the metro area.

Lunds & Byerlys plans new store, apartments on Grand Avenue

The grocery chain plans to open what would be its 29th store.

Screen Shot 2020-09-02 at 9.28.48 AM

Target announces expansion of its Good & Gather food range

The store's own brand has become its biggest seller in grocery.