A man has shown how grocery prices in the United States have increased since 2019, and the difference is jaw-dropping.
In a viral TikTok, content creator Gary Bird (@thegarybird) compared the prices of household staples sold at Whole Foods to the cost of those same items in 2019. With a cart full of groceries, Bird began the video by saying: “In 2019, all of this food in here only cost $87.50.”
He showed himself buying typical items like milk, eggs, bread, vegetables, meat, and other essentials for family of four. He then rang up his items at the self-checkout scanner and shared the receipt with viewers.
“Prices have gone up a lot since Covid,” Bird said, as he showed his final total of $117. The cost of his groceries marked a 36 per cent increase from 2019. The video ended with Bird encouraging viewers to share their grocery store experiments.
Many viewers took to the comments to share how they’ve also noticed a stark increase in grocery prices over the years. The majority of comments claimed that they were spending $300 for one week’s worth of groceries, an estimated $1,200 a month.
One viewer, who explained that they have a family of five, said: “We went from spending $800-$900 a month to $1,200-$1,400 and that’s WITH budgeting, couponing, and visiting several stores. How fun.”
“Over $550 a month for three people,” another added, while someone else wrote: “Family of four. We spend about $120-$150 a week. Depends on if it’s a Costco week.”
Others lamented that costs will likely not be going down anytime soon. “The prices will never go back to the way they were,” one person said. “We just learn to suffer and adjust.”
According to USDA’s Economic Research Service 2023-24 Food Price Outlook, experts project that the cost of food items will increase by 5.8 per cent at an “above historical-average rate”. They also forecast that food prices in 2024 will “decelerate but not decline”. Prices will reportedly have an average increase of 2.1 per cent.
Some experts have noted that inflation is to blame for the price of basic necessities skyrocketing to an alarming degree, with Forbes reporting that price increase has significantly outpaced what economists deem general inflation. Given the war in Ukraine impacting the global agricultural industry and the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the worldwide economy is struggling to bounce back.
However, some believe that the price increase is actually a result of price gouging from companies eager to make a profit. “Follow the money, and the story is clear,” Robert Reich, the former US Labour Secretary, wrote on X in March of this year. “Food corporations are using inflation as cover to jack up prices.”
According to Time Magazine, multiple big food companies like Conagra, Kraft-Heinz, and General Mills have revealed that their profits more than doubled since the beginning of the pandemic. If the prices on the market are anything to go off of, it seems as though companies aren’t planning on returning to pre-pandemic levels any time soon.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics reports that the price of food eaten at home has soared more than 10 per cent, with cereals and bakery goods up 14.6 per cent from 2022, and followed by dairy and nonalcoholic beverages at 12.3 per cent. Meanwhile, meats have increased to 6.8 per cent and fresh produce to 5.4 per cent.