You’ve probably felt your grocery bill growing over the past year, but seeing the numbers really puts it into perspective.
The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis tracks every type of economics metric you can think of, from exchange rates to crude oil prices.
They also use federal data to keep close tabs on the cost of grocery staples, like bananas, coffee, cereal, and anything else you might throw in your cart. The prices of all those items (and more) haven’t just crept up over the past year – they’ve shot up.
The cost of groceries jumped up 11.3% across the board over the last year, according to the most recently available Consumer Price Index calculations.
To take a closer look at what that means for the average shopper, we picked five breakfast grocery items and searched the St. Louis Fed for answers on how much more expensive they’ve grown in recent years.
Each of the charts below shows the change in price for one grocery item from January 2020 to January 2023. In some cases, you can see price hikes started happening back in 2021. In others, the increase is more recent.
You’ll also notice each graph has an area shaded in gray from February to April of 2020, indicating the short period of economic recession triggered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
No other grocery staple in the past year has seen a meteoric rise in quite like eggs. At the start of 2022, a dozen large eggs cost the average American shopper $1.93. At the start of 2023, that carton cost $4.82 – a 250% increase.
The culprit here isn’t just inflation: A major avian flu outbreak forced the slaughtering of 58 million birds to limit the virus’ spread. Chicken and turkey prices have also been affected.
With some ups and downs in 2020, milk prices really started rising in March 2021. Back then, a gallon of conventional whole milk cost about $3.35 on average. In January of 2023, the price was up to $4.20.
If you think switching to oat milk would save you money, you’d be wrong. The price of oat milk went up about 44% in 2022, according to a Beverage Industry analysis.
The price of white bread didn’t really start to rise until August 2021. The change may not look as dramatic – a pound of white bread went from $1.55 to $1.89 between the start of 2022 and the start of 2023 – but that’s still a 22% price increase in just one year.
Along with eggs, butter is one of the grocery staples that has seen prices increase the most. Sticks of butter went from $3.67 per pound to $4.88 in just one year.
Margarine is hardly better. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the cost of margarine jumped 44% year-over-year.
Finally something that’s getting cheaper. After growing steadily more expensive for about 18 months, the price of sliced bacon started to drop in October of last year. The most recent data available shows its price is $6.80 per pound.
The Fed is still trying to raise interest rates in hopes of curbing inflation that’s hitting not just food, but all types of consumer goods. Consumer inflation peaked in mid-2022, but has remained stubbornly high, and even accelerated in early 2023.
Forecasters expect the Fed to raise its benchmark rate again in late March.