Eating is getting costlier for Americans as the food industry faces the steepest inflation in a decade. Big food makers and restaurant chains are raising prices, cutting their own costs and trying other strategies to offset higher expenses. Between shrinking grocery-store packages and fewer restaurant discounts, shoppers are paying more for their meals whether or not they notice it. Here’s how:
General Mills Inc., Campbell Soup Co. and J.M. Smucker Co. are just a few of the food makers raising wholesale prices, translating to higher supermarket price tags for Goldfish crackers, Folgers coffee and pet food over the summer and early fall, executives said. In restaurants, the Labor Department estimated prices increased 4.2% in June from a year earlier, with Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Denny’s Corp. and Shake Shack Inc. among the chains charging more this year.
Rising costs for ingredients, transport, labor and packaging are forcing companies’ hands, said General Mills Chief Executive Jeff Harmening. With consumers’ savings rates higher than ever and plentiful jobs, shoppers can bear it, he said: “No one wants to increase prices, but we’ve had to, and consumers understand.”