Your grocery store bills may have been higher recently — and the United States Department of Agriculture anticipates that food prices will continue to rise this year.
The Economic Research Service of the EPA issued its Food Price Outlook for 2022, which indicated that food costs in the United States increased 7.9 percent between February 2021 and 2022 and are continuing to grow.
According to the research, price increases are disproportionately affecting particular food groups. Restaurant costs are increasing due to proportionately higher prices for popular meats like beef, bacon, and eggs. The much-discussed supply chain issues explain why fresh vegetables may become more costly this year.
Let us dissect the numbers. The agency forecasts that food costs will likely climb by roughly 3–4% in 2022, while the cost of eating out will likely grow by 5.5–6.5%, both of which are greater than past yearly rises and faster than the average rate of inflation.
If there is a silver lining here, these percentages are lower than the rises in food prices last year, the research notes, suggesting that the worst may be over. However, snack-store sticker shock is unlikely to abate in the coming months.
Why is this occurring, and who is most affected
Numerous factors contribute to the expectation that food costs will rise in 2022. The Russian invasion of Ukraine is already having a big impact on the US food supply, as the two nations produce a substantial amount of the world’s staple commodities such as wheat, corn, and sunflower oil (via Fox News).
COVID-19 also resulted in a considerable increase in food costs (via International Food Policy Research Institute).
However, according to The Washington Post, another disease epidemic is expected to significantly impact in 2022: avian flu, which normally does not infect humans but might jeopardize the poultry sector.
And rising food prices may have a disproportionate effect on populations already grappling with food insecurity and poverty. According to the Population Reference Bureau, 44 million additional people worldwide live in poverty due to rising food prices.
Households and entire civilizations will feel it as analysts become more concerned about social unrest associated with rising food costs (via The New York Times).
While governmental bodies — such as President Joe Biden’s push for antitrust regulation, as reported by The New York Times — may be the best way to address this issue, perhaps it’s also time to take a cue from TikTok’s queen of foraging and forage for our wild ingredients, honoring our local cultural history in the process.