Katie Pelton

If you’re like me, you’ve noticed your grocery bill has gotten a lot more expensive, but just wait. Unfortunately, it’s not going to get better anytime soon.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) said consumers can expect the price of food to continue to skyrocket. So far this year, food prices have increased nine percent on average. The USDA said they will go up by another 4% to 5%.

Keep in mind, the USDA said the average monthly cost for groceries for a family of four was $887.80, as of February. You can expect that number to climb even higher.

The USDA just released the Food Price Outlook for March 2022. The price of meat will jump the most. Prices for beef and veal will increase up to 7%.

Avian flu is also causing chicken prices to go up by about 7%, and egg prices are expected to jump up to 3.5%. “An ongoing outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza could contribute to poultry and egg price increases through reduced supply or decrease prices through lowered international demand for U.S. poultry products or eggs,” the USDA said in the summary. They plan to monitor the impacts of the bird flu outbreak.

The USDA said a rapid increase in the consumption of dairy products has driven up the cost in recent months. In February, prices jumped 1.6%. The experts predict dairy prices will continue to climb by up to 5% by the end of the year.

There are many factors causing the trend. “The impacts of the conflict in Ukraine and the recent increases in interest rates by the Federal Reserve are expected to put upward and downward pressures on food prices, respectively,” according to the report.

Fresh fruits could jump up to 4%. Fresh vegetables are expected to see the smallest change in prices. The cost did not change in February. The experts predict fresh vegetables will only increase by 1%-2%.

Meanwhile, restaurant prices are expected to increase even faster than grocery store prices, up to 6.5%. They are already 7% higher than January 2021. The USDA said restaurant prices are expected to break records and exceed historical averages.

If you want to read more about the report, I put a link on our website, KKTV.com, click on Find It. If you need resources, or assistance with food, you can reach out to Pikes Peak United Way by calling "211."

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