Higher US food prices lead to a shift in shopping habits


"I don't really shop for groceries as often as I used to," said Jasmine Reed, 32, outside a store in northern Virginia, as she explained the impact of higher food prices on her shopping habits.

Consumer inflation data published Thursday showed that food prices rose by 2.2 percent in the 12 months to April -- masking some sharp differences between items.

Eggs have plummeted by nine percent, according to the Department of labor data, while the cost of butter jumped by 3.5 percent. Milk prices have also fallen by more than one percent and the cost of bread has ticked higher.

Inflation and the cost of essential items like food and gas will likely play an important role in November's presidential rematch between Joe Biden and his Republican rival Donald Trump, as both candidates have looked to talk up their economic records in office.

Outside a grocery store in Falls Church, Virginia, on Friday, shoppers told AFP they had noticed an increase in the cost of everyday items in recent years -- causing some to change their buying habits.

"If the groceries were cheaper, then I would definitely cook more," said Reed, who says she now eats out at restaurants much more.

"For me it's the same, so I'd rather not waste time cooking," added Reed, who works as a teacher in nearby Fairfax.

- 'It's all very inflated' -

"I keep hearing some things are coming down but I haven't seen it," Mary Joe, 66, told AFP.

"Things have been expensive in general for a while now," said Gavi, a professional DJ and former US Marine Corps employee, who declined to give his last name.

Gavi, who is vegan, says he has seen his weekly shop double, from around $100 a week to $200.

"I don't really look at whether it's the bread, the sugar or the milk," he added. "I just see that it's all very inflated."

For former mechanic James Russell, also 66, higher fruit and vegetable prices have changed what he buys, and when.

"I just see the prices keep increasing by 25 cents and 50 cents, and nothing's really easy anymore on your pocket," added Russell, who lives nearby.

"I just go in there and just check the prices and get what I can get," he said.

"Before I wouldn't think about what I was putting in the cart," added Mary Joe, who also lives in the area. "And now it's like, do I really want this?"



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