Groceries could cost you more this month

Consumer Reports

Cashier George Wallace, of Quincy, Mass., center, works behind a plastic shield as a shopper, right, places groceries in a cart, Thursday, March 26, 2020, at a grocery store, in Quincy. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

(NEXSTAR) – Your grocery bill may see an increase as grocery prices continue to climb this year, going up .6 percent in March from the previous month, according to data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Consumer costs at the supermarket rose every month of 2021, the BLS found. It increased by .4 percent in February and .3 percent in January, meaning a .7 increase since the start of the year.

The priciest items, per the BLS, were meats, poultry and fish, which increased by 5.4 percent from February to March.

They were followed by dairy and related products, which rose in price 1.6 percent.

The BLS said high gasoline prices are likely to blame. They rose 11.7 percent in March, before seasonal adjustment, while the natural gas index grew 2.5 percent over the month.

In March, the average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline jumped a nickel per gallon to $2.94.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the price at the pump might be near its peak as gasoline supply evens out across the country. 

The price of gas has spiked 77 cents per gallon since Nov. 20 and is at the highest point since May 2019.

According to NBC, an increase in commodity prices, spiking imports by China, and Midwest crop damage, among other factors, are also getting passed on to consumers.

“Supply chains are largely inefficient at this time,” Isaac Olvera, agricultural economist for ArrowStream, told NBC. “We’re still dealing with fallout from the pandemic.”

Olvera said that oil production may not be able to keep pace with fuel demand from drivers this year, making it more likely that the cost of supermarket goods could continue to rise, not fall.

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