Grocery bill climbing? These graphs show how the price of staple pantry items has risen

With inflation across the U.S. hovering around 8%, the old advice to save money by eating at home may be more difficult than ever.

Many are feeling the pinch at the grocery store, where prices have risen steadily in recent months.

The “food at home” consumer price index rose 11.9% in the last year, “the largest 12-month increase since the period ending April 1979,” according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“The food categories with the largest increase in prices are cereal, meat, eggs and dairy,” said Alison Gustafson, Ph.D. and associate professor with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Nutrition and Food Science. “Given that the rise in corn has been very high and much of that corn goes to feed livestock, there has been a significant increase in meat and poultry.”

A number of factors are contributing to the increase in consumer groceries, Gustafson noted. That includes supply chain disruptions and lingering effects of the coronavirus pandemic, worker shortages, environmental conditions, the war in Ukraine and “to a lesser extent inflation.” It’s all led to prices at the store jumping between 14% and 16% from the prior year.

Kentucky is still in “relatively good shape compared to other states,” Gustafson wrote in an email to the Herald-Leader, but it’s time for consumers to be mindful of purchases.

“Given that Kentucky depends on other states for certain products and as mentioned there continues to be supply chain issues with certain food items, this is a critical time to change what and where we purchase our food,” she said.

Shopping from local producers and choosing in-season fruits and vegetables can help Kentucky’s farmers and perhaps ease the strain on shoppers’ wallets.

Still, consumers shouldn’t expect relief at the grocery store and will likely continue to shell out more for the remainder of the year, Gustafson said.

Her other tips to trim the grocery bill included purchasing canned and frozen items where possible, limiting the amount of animal proteins and to shop with someone else “to take advantage of buy one get one deals and to save money on gas.”

How much have grocery prices increased?

We’ve compared the U.S. city average prices from January 2020 to May 2022, the latest data available, for a number of items. The data is courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Use the interactives below to see price changes in several pantry staples. Note that these graphics will automatically update as new data become available.

White bread

White bread costs have jumped from $1.35 to $1.61, an increase of 26 cents or 19.3%.

Though not pictured, whole wheat bread prices have also increased by 13.3%, from $1.96 to $2.22 per pound.


A gallon of whole milk went from $3.25 to $4.20, an increase of 95 cents or 29.2%.


A dozen grade A eggs went from $1.46 to $2.86, a hike of $1.40 or 95.9%.


Butter dropped in price for a time before beginning to climb again steadily in December 2021. It went from $3.86 in January 2020 to $4.29 in May 2022, an increase of 43 cents or 11.1%

White rice

The price per pound of white rice rose from 72 cents to 91 cents, a jump of 19 cents or 26.4%.


Dried bean, priced per pound, has jumped from $1.43 to $1.64, an increase of 14.7% or 21 cents.

Ground beef

Ground beef by the pound saw a sharp increase in June 2020, but from January of the same year to this May, the average price has gone from $4.34 to $5.33, just higher than the June 2020 peak. The increase from the beginning to 2020 to now is just under a dollar or 22.8%.


Chicken breast, priced per pound, has seen a fairly steady increase over the period, going from $3.06 to $4.31. That’s an increase of $1.25 or 40.8%.


A morning staple for many, coffee has also steady jumped. A pound has gone from $4.17 to $5.84, an increase of 40% or $1.67.


White sugar average prices have increased from 58 cents to 68 cents package per pound. That’s a 10-cent jump or 17.2%.

Do you have a question about Kentucky’s economy for our service journalism team? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out our Know Your Kentucky form or email