Consumers need to get ready for higher grocery bills for the rest of 2021. The latest spike in grocery bills that rose during last year’s pandemic stockpiling showed prices never went down. Only up.

Shoppers better start budgeting for their groceries according to the latest consumer price index which shows price increases are likely to keep going up.

The monthly consumer price index showed a 0.6% increase in March, the longest increase in nearly a decade. Gas prices have skyrocketed by 9.1% last month and  increasing every month.

Since February, prices of fruit and vegetables have risen by nearly 2%; meats, poultry, fish and eggs have risen 0.4%, according to government figures.

The hikes are more acute in certain areas. Boston and Philadelphia are paying nearly a dollar more per one pound of bacon, while in Chicago it is up by about 70 cents. Several items spotted by an over 5% increase in Dallas showed eggs, chicken breasts, fresh ground beef and sandwich bread rose as well. But, we have to eat.

There are many factors contributing to this, too many to mention; however, global shipping containers to get products up to port have also increased. And, about 80% of traded goods travel by shipping containers and are continuing to go up.

The good news is that produce is less affected by inflationary trends.

So this is a good time to become a vegetarian! The bright spot is that there will be a slowdown in inflation and a slight reversal of food prices in 2022. But weather throughout our nation always has the “final say.” Until then, I’ll eat more fruits and vegetables and keep to a vegetarian diet until that day comes!

Kathleen Chamis

Ashland

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