Eating in is no picnic thanks to COVID-19 related spike in food prices

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- The latest Consumer Price Index from the Department of Labor shows Americans paid nearly five percent more for food this year over last, led by big increases in meat and dairy prices.

ABC7 asked shoppers inside Community Foods Market on San Pablo Avenue in Oakland if they are paying more for food.

Their answer: a resounding yes, although they may differ on what they're paying more for.

A shopper named Anthony said, "Beef prices have skyrocketed. Pork, like spareribs have skyrocketed."

But a shopper named Grace guessed: "butter, eggs, and dairy."

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Turns out they're both right.

Brahm Ahmadi is Community Foods CEO.

"We've seen price fluctuations in meat anywhere from 10 percent to 30 percent increases and in some cases a non-availability entirely for a sustained period of time" he said.

Justin Offenbach - COO of Golden Gate Meat Company - says California wholesalers who were able to source from smaller, family owned companies saw less price volatility and so did consumers.

But wholesalers who rely on restaurant sales are really suffering.

"Our business is probably down about 60 percent which is a huge hit compared to four months ago," Offenbach said.

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Ahmadi says it's not just meat prices, eggs and dairy have seen big price spikes as well.

"Egg pricing for April through May went up substantially, 50-60 percent on some egg items," he said.

Grocers say prices have come down from their highs of May and June, but that can change week to week.

Their advice is to keep an eye out online and on weekly flyers for sales.

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