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Shoppers see higher grocery store prices during COVID-19 pandemic

Bay Area

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – If you’ve noticed a bigger receipt at the grocery store, you’re not alone.

Analysts say people are spending more at the supermarket during the pandemic than they have in years.

Susan Dunnegan says it’s costing a whole lot more to fill up her shopping cart.

“I just spent $118 in there for not a lot of groceries,” Dunnegan said. 

Analysts blame the higher prices in part on less food in restaurants, sending more people to the stores.

“Supply and demand and we’re demanding more food in the supermarkets,” Daniel Sumner said. 

Daniel Sumner is a professor of agricultural economics at U.C. Davis.

He says the coronavirus pandemic has changed shopping habits.

“If you look at the trends, there’s a lot more trends towards people cooking at home, learning how to cook, learning how to prepare meals,” Sumner said. 

According to recent data by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, from February to June:

  • Meat and poultry rose nearly 11 percent
  • Eggs are at a 10 percent high
  • The BEA found shoppers shelled out 4 percent more for cereals and fresh vegetables

Dunnegan noticed the spike in prices.

“Milk, bread, and basic vegetables,” Dunnegan said.

Sumner says the meat industry took a hit after workers fell ill and stalled production.

Now causing customers to pay more.

“So we’ve slowed down the processing line. We’ve spaced the workers a little bit. We’re put up barriers between workers so they’re a little safer on the line,” Sumner said. 

Store managers at Raleys and Safeway who spoke with KRON4 by phone says there’s no panic buying like what we saw in the spring which means the shelves are fully stocked. 

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