You can’t dine in and you can’t dine out. Guess we’ll all just starve. Okay, okay, I know it’s not that dramatic—but come on. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released the Consumer Price Index Summary, and the increase in food prices is notable to say the least.
The summary reads, “The all items index rose 6.8 percent for the 12 months ending November, the largest 12-month increase since the period ending June 1982.” Let’s just agree that part sucks. Unfortunately, when you dive deeper into the numbers, it doesn’t get much better. When it comes to dining out, or “food away from home,” as the index puts it, prices are up 5.8%.
Knowing this, the logical next thought would be something along the lines of, “well, you save more money when you cook instead of ordering out.” This would be a fair point—except that the “food at home” index rose 6.4% over the past year, even more than dining out. That’s also the largest increase in the category since December 2008.
This information isn’t exactly a surprise considering this year’s grocery price increases and rising delivery charges. I guess I just find it more daunting to see all the statistics laid out in one report. The White House did, however, put out a statement hoping to temper consumer panic. “Developments in the weeks after these data were collected last month show that price and cost increase are slowing, although not as quickly as we’d like,” said President Joe Biden in the statement following the report. “We are making progress on pandemic related challenges to our supply chain which make it more expensive to get goods on shelves, and I expect more progress on that in the weeks ahead.”
From a consumer perspective, it feels like all we can do at the moment is hope that the new year will bring some type of break from these “challenges.”