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Grocery Prices Up Steeply From Same Time Last Year

This story was originally published on May 4.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Your grocery list could be eating away at your budget, without you noticing.

Nearly everything at the store, from beef and cereal, to fruit and veggies, costs more than it did a year ago.

Shannon Bjork, an expecting mother from Spring Lake Park, says the grocery bill in her house has raised a few eyebrows.

"At the end of the total is when you're like, 'Holy cow, $200 for all this,'" Bjork said.

The average prices in March of 2021 for pork chops and chicken breasts are both up more than 10% compared to March of 2020. Eggs and cheddar cheese are both up 6%.

Looking at all consumer goods as a whole, the latest inflation data in the Consumer Price Index from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the largest month-to-month increase in almost nine years.

WCCO spoke with V.V. Chari, a University of Minnesota economics professor and adviser to the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

"[The month-to-month data] is not something we should be unduly concerned about," Chari said. "We should be concerned about the possibility of persistent increases in inflation."

Grocery Prices Rising
(credit: CBS)

Chari says the economy's making up for the pandemic, when prices didn't rise like they normally do. Looking at it year-to-year, inflation is only a percent or so higher than what Chari says we would expect.

"There are no indications that we will see the dramatic inflation rates that we saw in the late 70s and the early 80s, when prices went up by 10%, 12% each year," Chari said.

It's a similar story at the gas pump. Prices have jumped more than $1.20 compared to a year ago, but that was when demand was at rock bottom because so many people were at home.

So, like groceries, gas is catching up to get back to where we would actually expect it to be, according to Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy. He says gas prices should continue to rise as the economy bounces back.

"Most of the time Minneapolis tends to be a little bit under the national average," DeHaan said. "I wouldn't expect that to change this summer."

Prices are also up for both new and used vehicles, according to Scot Hall, the executive vice president of operations with He says it's a great time to sell a car, but if you're looking to replace it with something else, be prepared to pay a bit more.

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