Mary Anna Thomas

21 Foods People Are Struggling to Afford Due to Rising Inflation

The high inflation rates drive us to be more mindful of our spending. In addition to cutting down on entertainment and travel, people now have to restrict themselves in the grocery store. We take a look at 21 foods that people are struggling to afford due to rising inflation.


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The main reason for increased beef prices is the cost of raising cattle. Feed, such as corn, has seen price hikes due to inflation and global factors. Additionally, transportation costs for both cattle and feed have also risen significantly. Cheaper cuts of beef, such as chuck steak or ground beef, can save buyers some money, but inflation is impacting those prices, too.  


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Like beef producers, poultry farmers are facing higher feed costs, a major expense in raising chickens and turkeys. Corn and soybeans, key ingredients in chicken feed, have seen price increases due to inflation and global factors.

Fresh Vegetables

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Along with the standard impact of inflation on food prices, consumers are picking up the additional costs of fertilizer to grow vegetables. Poor weather, including floods and a lack of heat, has depleted growth, meaning the available fresh food comes at a high price. With money tight for many, food with a long shelf life is more popular than fresh food that spoils quickly. Therefore, canned vegetables and frozen fruits are cheaper than fresh foods. 


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Seafood, particularly lobster, has always been more expensive, but inflation and fuel costs are making it a treat that can’t be enjoyed very often. Pollock, herring, mackerel, and sardines are cheaper alternatives to more expensive fish, such as fresh salmon and monkfish.  


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Inflation is affecting the wine industry like every other food and drink item. Due to poor weather, particularly in Europe, the industry faces higher production costs and lower yields. 

Olive Oil

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Like wine, olive oil production has been impacted by extreme weather conditions, leading to high demand for a short supply. In addition to these inflation costs, consumers are turning to alternative oils such as rapeseed and vegetable oil.  


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Dairy farmers are struggling to pay the costs of feed for their cattle, which is raising the price of milk even before inflation comes into the equation. While some store-brand milk is cheaper than independent suppliers, consumers are still reducing how much they buy in their weekly shop.


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Like milk, dairy farmers struggle to sell butter at an affordable cost for consumers. The average cost of butter is $2.62, meaning people use alternatives such as sunflower spread and margarine. 

Alternative Milks

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Plant-based milks are typically made from almonds, oats, soy, or coconuts. The cost of these raw materials has increased due to problematic weather and fluctuations in global demand for these crops.


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The cost of eggs has been high since the largest outbreak of avian influenza in American history.  Millions of chickens were culled to prevent the spread of the disease, significantly reducing the national egg supply. Now, the cost of inflation has increased prices further, making them unaffordable to many. 


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Like many other food products, cereal manufacturers have faced rising costs for ingredients like grains, sugar, and packaging materials due to inflation. These factors have led to a hike in cereal prices, with many consumers turning to store brands rather than big brands. 


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Due to inflation, coffee farmers face higher costs for fertilizers, pesticides, and labor. These increased expenses are factored into the price they charge for coffee beans. The increased manufacturing cost of grinding beans means there is an even greater price hike for ground coffee.


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Like coffee farmers, tea farmers face higher costs for labor, fertilizers, and other inputs needed to grow tea leaves. The cost of shipping tea leaves from origin countries to processors and distributors has increased significantly due to rising fuel prices and global supply chain disruptions.


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Most refrigerators and cupboards are packed with condiments, such as chili sauce and mustard, to add flavor to topline foods. With rising costs, condiments are the first thing scratched off grocery lists for many people.  Consumers are turning to dried herbs and spices to add flavor to their food as they are cheaper and last longer.


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Saffron has always been expensive due to its labor-intensive harvesting. Currently, you can expect to pay between $10 and $20 per gram for saffron, which is out of reach for many Americans. Turmeric is a cheaper alternative to add color and depth of flavor to meals.


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In addition to the rising inflation costs, some states also have a sugar tax, meaning soda is a luxury for many these days. Like many other processed foods and drinks, soda is more expensive due to higher costs for ingredients, such as corn syrup and aluminum cans. 

Potato Chips

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Potato chips are now a luxury snack for some people when they were once a store cupboard staple. Research by Attest shows that 43% of Americans are cutting out snacks to save money on their weekly grocery bill. 


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Globally, rice production has been impacted by various factors, including droughts and floods in major rice-growing regions. This has led to some countries, such as India, halting exports to ensure they have enough to eat themselves. Add inflation to the rice that is available, and it quickly becomes too expensive for many families. 

Dining Out

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Restaurants and other eating establishments are also struggling with rising inflation costs. Like everyone else, restaurants are paying high food costs that must be passed on to the customer, meaning many people can’t afford to eat out anymore. 


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Getting takeout is cheaper than dining out, but some families struggle to indulge in this once-family tradition. Instead, they try to emulate their favorite dishes at home to save money. 

Pet Food

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It isn’t only human food that is getting more expensive; the cost of pet food is also putting financial strain on families. Animal shelters across the country are struggling with an increase in people giving up their pets as they can no longer afford to look after them. 

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