May 28, 2024 - Business

Why grocery bills feel so high, even though food inflation is technically low

The line chart shows the change in the Consumer Price Index for food at home from January 2021 to April 2024. Year-over-year change peaked in August 2022 at 13.6%, followed by a gradual decline to +1.1% in April 2024. The cumulative change since January 2021 is +20.8%.
Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The inflation rate for "food at home," basically the stuff you buy at the supermarket, is really low these days, with prices rising just 1.1% over the last year. But since January 2021, when President Biden took office, prices are up nearly 21%.

Why it matters: Every time Americans go food shopping they feel the sting of higher prices, making the grocery store the place where consumers are most regularly reminded about inflation.

The intrigue: Dining out is worse — prices rose 4.1% over the last year, far faster than costs at the grocery store or overall inflation.

  • And prices for "food away from home" are up nearly 22% since 2021.

The bottom line: Finding cheap eats is a challenge.

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