As people flock to grocery stores amid the pandemic, prices of certain essential items - like milk, eggs, meat, and cereal - have skyrocketed.
According to data from the Labor Department, the amount of money consumers have spent on groceries jumped by 2.6% in April as the coronavirus pandemic hit its peak. This is the largest increase in spending since February 1974.
As far as specific items go, prices of meats, poultry, fish, and eggs rose by 4.3% while fruits and vegetables made a 1.5% jump. Cereals and bakery products have jumped by 2.9% and dairy goods by 1.5%, CNBC reports.
Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, wrote in an email, "Food price gains were robust as we know there are empty shelves out there. Demand we know in most areas of the economy has collapsed and prices are falling in response."
In recent weeks, meat suppliers have been warning about the potential of a nationwide meat shortage after coronavirus swept through plants in western areas of the country.
The shortage could last months, potentially extending through the summer months.
"The last two weeks in May will be the peak of the meat crisis. The plants that have remained open are only operating at 40 percent to 50 percent capacity," predicted Victor Colello, meat supervisor for the Morton Williams chain of supermarkets.
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