Bread prices are becoming another source of sticker shock for grocery shoppers during a period of decades-high inflation, according to a report.
The price of artisanal bread and other premium options has hit $10 per 2-pound loaf at some grocery stores – turning a pantry staple into a pain point for consumers already facing financial headaches like $5-per-gallon gasoline.
The sight of $10-per-loaf prices is “like a punch in the nose” to shoppers, Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University, told Bloomberg. Prices have reached levels that “nobody has seen before.”
Consumer Price Index data released for June showed the extent of the price surge in the bakery aisle. The cost of white bread jumped 10.1% last month compared to the same month one year earlier. The price of wheat bread and other alternatives spiked an even-higher 11.6%.
In terms of sheer dollars, 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 led some consumers to leave bread out of their shopping carts. Unit purchases of bread items are down 2.7% this year through July 2, Bloomberg reported, citing data from NielsenIQ.
Chicago-based bakery chain La Boulangerie & Co. told Bloomberg that it has been forced to jack up prices by 10% to account for higher expenses, pushing a loaf of loaf of brioche to $11.50.
“It’s really hard because how high 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 squished between the hammer and the anvil.”
Various factors have contributed to the rise in bread prices. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended global wheat exports and caused a surge in prices for the key commodity. The cost of key ingredients such as flour, eggs and milk have also spiked over the last year, raising costs for producers.
Overall, grocery prices surged 12.2% last month and were a key input for the June inflation rate of 9.1% — the sharpest increase since 1981.
As The Post reported last week, American households are paying nearly $500 per month to cover their everyday expenses during the inflation surge.