Spending more at grocery store lately? Experts explain what’s keeping prices so high

ATLANTA — If you find you’re spending more at the grocery store, it’s not just because you’re buying more. Food prices are going up.

The price of groceries is up 4% nationally from the same time last year and it’s worse in cities because of the pandemic. In Atlanta, food costs are up nearly 6.5% with meat prices even higher.

Channel 2′s Steve Gehlbach talked with a couple of experts to find out why.

At the beginning of the pandemic with the exception of paper goods, stores had enough supply as demand shot up. Now it seems that has flipped. There is no more panic buying but stores have had trouble keeping some shelves stocked.

“It’s hurting a lot of people these days,” Doug Bowman said.

Bowman, a marketing professor at Emory University’s Goizueta Business School, told Gehlbach prices aren’t falling as fast as they shot up.

“So prices should be up, but should they be up 8-9%? I’m not sure. In the next few months, they could come down and should come down," he said.

Quianah Haskins works for Instacart and she’s at her grocery store up to 10 times a day filling other people’s shopping lists. She has seen not only the hike in prices but some things are now harder to find.

“Organic flours, grapeseed oils and things that are better for your health, can’t find it," Haskins said. “In the beginning those were the things that were on the shelve…now those are things that are not on the shelves.”


The president of the Georgia Food Industry Association said the grocery stores they represent across the state from large to small are having the same issue keeping everything in stock.

“What the companies have done is they’ve stopped making every variety and concentrated on making the most popular products," Kathy Kuzava said.

Kuzava said it’s just more expensive to make and get products to the stores.

“Some of our costs have increased from suppliers due to everything from higher labor costs, lower capacity production, increased cleaning and sanitation protocols,” she said.

People are also paying more because stores aren’t offering many coupons, discounts or big sales.

“Right now they’re just not sure what is not going to be available," Kuzava said.