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In April, the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S. economy hard — including grocery prices.
According to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, average grocery prices surged by 2.6 percent in April. That is the largest monthly increase in grocery prices since 1974, according to the report.
Grocery foods with the highest one-month increase were meat, poultry, fish and eggs, which rose by 4.3 percent in April.
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Meanwhile, bakery items and cereal increased by 2.9 percent, nonalcoholic drinks increased by 2.9 percent, dairy products increased by 1.5 percent and vegetables also increased by 1.5 percent.
Despite the increase in grocery costs, consumer goods saw an overall decline of 0.8 percent in price, according to the data.
That is “the largest monthly decline since December 2008,” the report said.
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Grocery chains across the country have had to ration certain items — most recently meat products — because of shortages or potential shortages during the pandemic.
In fact, last week Kroger started limiting meat purchases in all its stores after previously limiting meat only in select stores.
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The supermarket chain also added chicken to the limit alongside pork and beef.
Kroger competitors, including Costco and Food Lion, are also limiting the number of meat items customers can buy.