Grocery Store Prices Surge as Coronavirus Continues to Spread

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Not only is COVID-19 a detriment to your health, it is changing how much you spend at the grocery store.

Tammy Nunn used to spend $25 a week at a grocery store in Concord, now her weekly grocery tab has more than doubled.

"I spend about $60 and you see what I have here, a little bit of stuff," she said.

Since the shelter-at-home order began, people around the country are seeing prices at the supermarket go up. Meat prices between March and June jumped more than 20%, poultry and eggs up more than 7%, fresh vegetables and cereal also rose more than 3%.

"It’s a supply and demand issue," said economist Gary Schlossberg. "Prices have been disrupted throughout the market.”

That disruption comes in many ways. Restaurants had to close abruptly, which means meat had to be repackaged to be sold to consumers.  

That repackaging comes with a cost, which is passed on to the public.

"The tragedy is at some of these meat packing plants where workers are falling out, businesses doing what they can to mitigate the effect of the pandemic," said Schlossberg.

The spiking prices also mean many families can't afford the food they need. More than 29 million Americans said they didn't have enough to eat at some point in July.

So, will the price hikes continue? Economists say no one knows for certain. It will ultimately depend on when the coronavirus is brought under control.

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