Grocery Prices Still on the Rise

The Lempert Report
June 21, 2023

What we found from CNN this past week are US grocery prices are up again. They were down in March and April And the reality is that margarine was up 22.5%, flour up 17.1%. Bread spiked 2.5%. Sugar up 11.1%. Juice and non-alcoholic drinks up almost 10%. Let us up 9.5%. Ham up 8.2%. And ice cream in the beginning of summer was up 8%. So you know, before everybody got, you know, really, really psyched that food prices were coming down. But, as we've talked about here on the Lempert Report any number of times, prices are not going to go down. We still have our climate situation, we still have labor shortages, we have labor pricing going up, the hourly wages going up, we have a trucking shortage, so prices are not going to go down. So what do you think we should be doing about this, sally?

Sally: Well, one good piece of good news is that we have seen eggs In a historical decline. They have come way down and we have talked about the price of eggs a lot. You know and remember how, how you know, some people around the country were buying a carton of eggs for eight dollars. So that is not happening anymore. But what I believe is that shoppers are getting a little exhausted with the messaging of it's the war in Ukraine, its supply chain issues, its labor costs. You know whether all of these things that you were just talking about And the feeling out there may be that maybe some of these food companies and retailers are just taking advantage of shoppers. That may be what consumers are feeling.

Phil: Yeah, and I think consumers are right, not necessarily on the retailer side nearly as much as on the brand side. Again, listening to a lot of these investment calls that these brands have with Wall Street, i mean a lot of them are saying, you know, we need to raise our prices and we're able to do that. I mean look at Coca-Cola, which has raised their prices I think it's five times since the pandemic And you know their price of 10 obviously went up for the aluminum cans. But also, you know, you think about a product like Coke or Pepsi that has huge profit margins. I mean the product cost is negligible And the fact that they feel that they can take these price increases really puts, you know, consumers on the short end of this whole thing.