How to save money as food inflation jumps more than 11% in a year

There is no sign that food price inflation will ease anytime soon, says Abhi Ramesh, CEO of Misfits Market

Going to the supermarket doesn’t get any cheaper.

Rising food costs helped push inflation back up last month despite a fall in gas prices. The food index alone rose 11.4% last year, according to the latest consumer price index figures — the biggest 12-month jump since May 1979.

The Food-at-Home Index, a measure of grocery price changes, rose 13.5% — also a 43-year high.

In the face of higher prices, consumers have cut back, according to Mark Hamrick, a senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “However, food is not fundamentally arbitrary,” he said. “That’s the challenging aspect of the circumstances we’re in.”

Prices of staples like eggs, milk, cereal, bread and butter saw some of the biggest price increases, further straining household budgets.

Inflation has also prompted many food and beverage companies, including Coca-Cola and PepsiCo, to increase the prices of beverages and packaged goods. Some are also downsizing their packaging — also known as “shrinkflation” — or trading in cheaper ingredients, a tactic now known as “skimpflation.”

“Food product manufacturers know that while most shoppers notice a price increase immediately, they are less likely to notice a reduction in a product’s net weight or a switch to cheaper ingredients,” said Edgar Dworsky, founder of Consumer World, who has done so tracks downsizing of popular products like Charmin, Quaker Instant Oatmeal and Honey Bunches of Oats.

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The Federal Reserve has already taken aggressive steps to tackle rising inflation, and a survey released earlier this week by the New York Fed showed consumers are less fearful of rising prices — although they still expect the rate of inflation to rise will be 5.7% in a year.

“Consumers are prepared for prices to hold up for the foreseeable future, but people also tend to believe things could return to normal,” Hamrick said.

In the meantime, “it is prudent that individuals continue to be prudent with their household budgets,” he added.

To that end, austerity experts are sharing their top tips for spending less on groceries as food inflation shows no signs of slowing anytime soon.

“It’s time to tighten the belt and has been for a while,” said Hamrick.

5 tips for saving when shopping

  1. Scrutinize sales. Generics can be 10% to 30% cheaper than their “premium” counterparts and just as good, but that’s not always the case. Name brands may currently be offering bigger than usual discounts to maintain loyalty. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to price changes.
  2. Plan your meals. When you plan your meals in advance, you’re more likely to buy only the things you need, said Lisa Thompson, savings expert at Coupons.com. If planning isn’t your thing, at least go shopping with a rough idea of ​​what you’ll be cooking in the coming week to stay on track and avoid impulse buying, she added.
  3. Buy in bulk. For the rest of the items on your list, you can save more by buying in bulk. Joining a wholesale club like Costco, Sam’s Club, or BJ’s will often give you the best per-unit price for condiments and durable goods.
  4. Use a cash back app. Ibotta and Checkout 51 are two of the most popular apps for making money back in business, according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews.com. The average Ibotta user makes between $10 and $20 a month, but more active users can earn as much as $100 to $300 a month, a spokesperson told CNBC.
  5. Pay with the right card. While you can earn 2% with a generic cash back card like the Citi Double Cash Card, there are specialty grocery rewards cards that can earn you up to 6% back at supermarkets across the country, such as the Citi Double Cash Card. B. the Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express. CNBC’s Select has a full round-up of the best cards for grocery shopping, along with APRs and annual fees.
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