NEW YORK (MainStreet) — If beef is what's for dinner, it'll cost you an arm and a leg.
The rising cost of food has created a huge headache for consumers in the United States. According to a recent Nielsen survey, food is the number one reason people tightened their belts when it came to shopping for other products like household, health and beauty items. It makes sense—we've been paying more for food for a while now. Since 2004, the overall price of food has increased by an average of 29%, but the price of many individual foods skyrocketed beyond that.
Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, we compiled a list of 10 foods that have shot up in price from the end of 2004 until March 2014. Read them and you'll be able to grumble about "back-in-the-day" prices with conviction.
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The average American eats a record high 5.6 pounds of butter, according to NPR. But even though butter has made a greasy comeback, it only increased by 13% since 2004. The cost of margarine, on the other hand, has shot up by 64%.
Rice prices jumped dramatically in 2008 due to "trade restrictions by major suppliers, panic buying by several large importers, a weak dollar, and record oil prices," according to the United States Department of Agriculture. While the price of rice has fallen by about 40% since, rice sells for 59% more than it was about a decade ago.
Uncooked ground beef
Cookouts aren't as cheap as they used to be—the price of ground meat to make all those delicious burger patties rose 58% over the past decade. To level out the costs, consider buying more hot dogs—the price of frankfurters only increased by 24%.
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Lamb, offal and mutton
Chances are your Easter dinner cost a bit more the past few years because a high demand for lamb in 2011 and 2012 led to a sharp rise in prices. Since 2004 the price of lamb, mutton and organ meats jumped an average of 53%.
It takes a bit more toil to cut into a juicy roast these days. In fact, almost all beef prices are up to record highs, thanks to extreme weather withering our nation's cattle numbers. Uncooked beef roasts shot up 49% since 2004, hitting a record high in February. If you're looking to save some money but still crave red meat, consider buying beef steaks—they cost only 32% more since ten years ago.
The cost of non-white bread rose 49% since 2004. A lesser increase can be seen in white bread, which has increased by 42%. This is probably linked to a 43% price increase of flour and flour mixes over the past 10 years.
Breakfast is a bit more expensive now than it was almost a decade ago. While eggs increased the most – 46% — two other American breakfast staples, bacon and sausage, also moderately increased. Bacon prices climbed 26% and breakfast sausage cost rose by 24%.
Fish and Seafood
The price of fish and seafood hit a record high in February and have increased by 45% since 2004. A couple reasons for the increase could include: an increase of demand from China brought global fish prices to record highs in 2013. More recently, an epidemic disease in shrimp helped raise the price of shrimp by 60% since March of this year, according to Bloomberg.
Sweet, salty, greasy pre-packaged goodness shot up by 40% since nearly a decade ago. We weren't sure exactly what constituted this category, so we asked the BLS, who said all types of potato chips, popcorn, cheese flavored snacks, pork rinds, potato chicks, trail mix, etc., plus all varieties of nuts are considered snacks.
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Homer Simpson may lament it, but it's better for your wallet and waistline to avoid them: The cost of fresh doughnuts, coffee cakes and sweet rolls increased by 40% over the past ten years.
Note on methodology: Increases were determined using the consumer price index of non-seasonally adjusted food items for all urban consumers on a U.S. city average scale provided by the BLS. Dates compared were the annual CPI data for 2004 and CPI data for the month of March 2014.
--Written by Craig Donofrio for MainStreet