The claim: The cost of groceries has increased by 400%
With inflation hovering near a 40-year high, many Americans have struggled to afford basic necessities, including food. While the cost of groceries has increased in recent years, it hasn't been to the extent some social media users claim.
But that percentage is off the mark.
The food-at-home consumer price index, which measures grocery inflation, was 12.4% higher in October than a year earlier. Looked at another way, grocery prices during the 12-month period ending in August increased by 13.5%, the biggest 12-month increase since 1979.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media user who shared the post for comment.
Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks
Grocery costs are expected to rise between 11% and 12% in 2022
All food prices, including prices for food sold at grocery stores and in restaurants, are expected to go up between 9.5% and 10.5% in 2022, according to the latest Department of Agriculture projections. Grocery prices alone are expected to rise between 11% and 12%.
Still, that’s nowhere near the size of the increase the post claims.
Some specific food items have had significant price increases. Eggs were up 46.8% in July compared to the same month last year, while in that same time period frozen dinners and entrées were up 22.8%, and butter and margarine were up 26.3%, according to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm.
There are a variety of reasons for rising grocery costs, including COVID-19-related supply chain interruptions, the war in Ukraine, energy prices and climate change.
Many consumers have been searching out bargains or "trading down" to generic brands in response to increasing prices, according to IRI.
The cost of groceries increased by 3.5% in 2020, then went up by 3.5% again in 2021. In 2023, the USDA expects grocery prices to climb between 2.5% and 3.5%.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that the cost of groceries has increased by 400%. The cost of groceries has increased dramatically this year, but not nearly to that extent. The consumer price index that measures grocery inflation was 12.4% higher in October than a year earlier, and the 13.5% increase in grocery prices during the 12-month period ending in August was the biggest 12-month period increase since 1979.
Our fact-check sources:
USDA, accessed Dec. 9, Food Price Outlook, 2022 and 2023
USA TODAY, Sept. 22, No more steak. Ordering out less. Here's how inflation is squeezing American diets.
CNN, Sept. 24, Food prices are soaring, and that’s changed how we eat
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Grocery costs on the rise, but post overstates increases