There are many ingredients that go into the price of American food, and while food prices have only increased an average of 2.2% over the past 12 months, you will have to shell out more for some of the basic items in many. of our households.
Food price increases are on the horizon long before a farmer harvests a single eggplant. If you’re a farmer and need to repair your tractor, for example, you’re probably affected by the price of steel, which has gone up 125% in the past 12 months.
Then there are the prices of raw materials in general, which are often set globally. Corn prices, for example, have risen 90% in the past 12 months, mainly due to increased overseas purchases. “China has bought a lot more corn in recent months – it’s not clear why, but they are,” said Jayson Lusk, head of the agricultural economics department at Purdue University.
And finally, there’s the cost of energy, which affects the price of everything from fertilizer for crops to the trucks that deliver the goods to the grocery store. Oil prices have risen 81 percent over the past year.
As you get ready for summer barbecues, some items are going to be much more expensive than they were last summer – in part because last summer you only cooked for the people in your house, rather than for friends and neighbors. This summer, you can either jump into meat and pay more for your food, or switch to less expensive alternatives, such as chicken thighs instead of wings or a burger instead of steak.
1. Chicken wings
In August 2018, chicken wing prices were at their lowest in seven years, retailing at $ 1.32 a pound. It sounds good ? No more. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), wings now average $ 3.54 a pound, down from $ 2.77 a year ago.
Why did the wings take off? Producers say production has been stable, but demand from private Americans for barbecues is extremely strong. The winter storm that swept through Texas in February took a heavy toll on poultry and other livestock, and farmers were unable to increase production as much as they normally do in summer. A labor shortage in the meat factories didn’t help either.
While not much can replace Buffalo chicken wings on the barbecue in the summer, you might consider boneless chicken wings – in fact, glorified chicken nuggets made with breast meat. And chicken thighs are still cheaper than wings.
Pork products in general have risen 3.2% in the past 12 months, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), but if you’re in the bacon market, be prepared for a shock: prices have jumped 13%. The average price of a pound of sliced bacon was $ 6.03 the week of June 4, up from $ 5.24 the same week in 2020.
Bacon is normally more expensive than other pork products, such as spare ribs, because drying and smoking pork belly takes more time and labor. Bacon prices have gone up even during the pandemic because it’s a comfort food here and abroad, and people needed a lot of comfort. The USDA predicts that pork prices will rise 2-3 percent this year, due to rising feed and labor costs.