Grocery prices spike due to coronavirus-related production and supply chain issues

Prices have jumped, in some cases significantly, and there is no clear indication that they will be coming down soon.
Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 11:36 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - You have no doubt noticed that some prices in our local grocery stores have risen sharply.

Statistics from the United States Bureau of Labor are showing a significant jump in prices when comparing April of 2019 to this past April, with a good portion of the price jump coming in March of this year.

Eggs, for example, have jumped in price, year to year, 38 percent with a 32 percent jump from March to April of this year.

This trend started, according to Case Western Reserve University Economics Professor Dr. Scott Shane, for the simplest of reasons.

“We’ve seen a big shift in demand to eating at home rather that eating in restaurants,” Dr. Shane said.

But since that early reaction to restaurants closing down, the issues causing grocery prices to spike have become deeper and harder to solve.

Prices are now moving considerably higher due to coronavirus-related problems in the nation’s food supply chain, including meat processing facilities closing down due to workers in the plants becoming ill with Covid-19.

Ground beef prices have soared over 11 percent higher than they were in April of 2019, and the price of roast is over 10 percent higher.

Steak, pork and chicken prices have also climbed to around 10 percent higher than their April of 2019 prices.

“It’s going to be awhile before we see the prices going back to where we are used to seeing because we’ve got a disruption on the supply side that we don’t see a solution to,” Dr. Shane said.

Milk and sugar prices have been affected as well, as milk has jumped in price 9.6 percent and sugar is up 8.3 percent since April of last year.

Prices will come down when the complex supply chain issues can be worked out, but Dr. Shane sees another issue coming soon.

“We’re going to start to see problems with the lack of migrant workers going into the fields that are picking crops that are going to affect the summer crops,” he warned.

Without enough workers able to enter the country, Dr. Shane said, the result may be much higher prices for your summer fruits and vegetables.

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