The coronavirus pandemic has had a massive impact on nearly all aspects of day-to-day life for millions around the world, which includes grocery stores. Panic buying, as well as interruptions to the supply line, have caused some items to spike in price. In fact, overall prices were up by 2.6 percent for grocery bills in the month of April, CNN reported on Thursday.
So far, eggs have seen the biggest increase, which were up by over 16 percent in April. The prices were so high that certain outlets flat-out refused to carry them. Meat was the other item that saw an inflated price tag, which is due largely to a possible meat shortage on the horizon, due largely to coronavirus outbreaks in meat processing plants leading to widespread closures. Overall, meat got 3 percent more expensive, with pork, chicken and fish all up between four and six percent.
Elsewhere, donuts, muffins and carbonated beverages all rose from about four to six percent, as well. Fruit overall went up 1.5 percent, though apples and oranges went up 4.9 percent and 5.6 percent, respectively. Fresh vegetables were up 1.5 percent, though canned vegetables were up 3.6 percent.
Not all food items saw an increase, however. Ham prices fell by 1.7 percent while breakfast sausage went down a bit at .3 percent. Additionally, cupcakes decreased 2.3 percent while tomatoes were down 1.4 percent. Butter was also down, as were pre-prepared salad mixes, so there's some good news.
Several grocery store chains have responded by limiting the amount of meat or eggs that customers can by. Walmart, which limited both, addressed the situation on their company blog back on March 18. "Our stores will have limits for customers in certain categories including paper products, milk, eggs, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer, water, diapers, wipes, formula and baby food," the statement read. "Our people are working hard to have every part of the store ready to serve customers."
Tyson Foods had addressed the pending meat shortage in a full-page advertisement in The New York Times on April 26. "As pork, beef and chicken plants are being forced to close, even for short periods of time, millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain," the ad read, in part. "Farmers across the nation simply will not have anywhere to sell their livestock to be processed, when they could have fed the nation. Millions of animals – chickens, pigs and cattle – will be depopulated because of the closure of our processing facilities. The food supply chain is breaking."