Inflation rose 0.3% in April and 8.3% year-over-year, according to April Consumer Price Index data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Wednesday, May 11. The most recent numbers represent a modest reprieve from March’s staggering 1.2% month-over-month increase.
Looking more recently, April marked a 1% month-over-month increase in food at home prices. While this is down from the 1.5% gains recorded in March, it is still the 17th consecutive month the food costs, on the whole, have risen.
Dairy prices rose 2.5% in April, marking the largest monthly increase in 15 years. A slow rebound from pandemic-related supply chain disruption and higher costs of necessary operational expenditures like grain for cows and fuel for equipment are contributing to rising dairy prices.
Meat prices have also been impacted by higher labor costs, commodity prices, and growing consumer demand. The index for eggs increased 10.3%—or nearly 50 cents—in April as many commercial poultry farms around the country culled tens of millions of chickens amid a highly infectious avian influenza outbreak.
The average SNAP payout is $121 per month, or less than $1.40 each meal. These benefits are supposed to assist with food costs, but they aren't updated for inflation.
Even slight price variances of historically low-cost items can significantly impact budget-conscious consumers as inflation increases. Staple items, including wheat, flour, and chicken, are not immune to price fluctuations caused by war. Vulnerable populations will feel the impacts on their grocery bills.
Chicken feed costs were impacted by Russia’s war in Ukraine; ingredients including sunflower meal and wheat are primarily produced by Russia and Ukraine. Those increases were passed down to consumers via higher poultry costs.