Bread prices are becoming another source of surprise for grocery shoppers during a decades-long period of high inflation, according to a report.
The price of artisan bread and other premium options has reached $10 per 2-pound loaf at some grocery stores, turning a pantry staple into a sore spot for consumers already facing financial headaches like $5 a gallon of gasoline.
Seeing prices of $10 a bar is “like a punch in the nose” for shoppers, Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University, told Bloomberg. Prices have reached levels that “no one has seen before.”
Consumer Price Index data released for June showed the extent of price increases in the bakery aisle. The cost of white bread increased 10.1% last month compared to the same month a year earlier. The price of wheat bread and other alternatives shot up 11.6% even more.
In pure dollar terms, the cost of white bread per pound hit $1.69, its highest level on record, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Rising prices have already prompted some consumers to leave bread out of their shopping carts. Unit purchases of bread items fell 2.7% this year through July 2, Bloomberg reported, citing data from NielsenIQ.
Chicago-based bakery chain La Boulangerie & Co. told Bloomberg it was forced to raise prices 10% to offset higher expenses, which saw a loaf of brioche come in at 11, 50 dollars.
“It’s really hard because how much can you pay for a loaf of bread?” the chain’s owner, Vincent Colombet, told the outlet. “Can you pay $20 for a loaf of bread? No. We are really crushed between the hammer and the anvil.”
Several factors have contributed to the rise in bread prices. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has disrupted global wheat exports and caused prices of the key commodity to rise. The cost of key ingredients such as flour, eggs and milk have also skyrocketed over the past year, driving up costs for producers.
Overall, grocery prices rose 12.2% last month and were a key figure in June’s inflation rate of 9.1%, the biggest increase since 1981.
As The Post reported last week, American households are paying almost $500 a month to cover their daily expenses during rising inflation.