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Two-thirds of Americans say groceries costing more than they’re used to during COVID-19 pandemic

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A majority of Americans are now feeling pain in their pocketbooks when it comes to grocery prices, and experts say the pandemic is a big contributor.

Market researchers say two-thirds of Americans are saying groceries cost more than they’re used to during the pandemic.

“I do feel like groceries in general have gone up,” says Milwaukee grocery shopper, Allison Hull.

A public survey of nearly 18,000 people about the costs of housing, insurance, transportation and groceries during the pandemic, revealed groceries as an outlier for Americans.

“Most of these things people say that the costs are staying the same, staying flat -- maybe a little up, maybe a little down, but mostly the same. Groceries was the one big exception in the United States where people were feeling a pinch,” says Chris Jackson, Senior Vice President at Ipsos Market Research.

Some grocery shoppers in Milwaukee have felt the increase, while others say it’s not too noticeable of a change.

“Meat is a little bit more expensive, I’m a little on the veggie side so it hasn’t probably struck me as much as other folks but I’ve definitely noticed it’s costing a little bit more,” says Hull.

“Not really, some stuff are on sale, but they’re reasonably priced I think,” says grocery shopper, Filiz Sher of Milwaukee.

Dr. Abdur Chowdhury with Marquette University says the increase in price is because of a disturbance in the supply chain.

“Suppliers, they couldn’t bring the supply to the grocery shelves, so as a result we saw an increase in price,” says Dr. Chowdhury.

Experts add with more people cooking at home and an increase in delivery fees for online grocery retailers, people now have to shell out more money.

“It’s a very uncertain situation, you never know when the next viral hotspot is going to be, and that throws chaos into everything, into disarray,” adds Jackson.

“I think limiting trips makes the price tags a little bit bigger per trip, so we see it a little bit more in our receipt,” Hull says.

Jackson says until the U.S. gets a better handle on COVID-19,  shoppers can expect grocery prices to spike up and down as time goes on. Meanwhile, he says shoppers can help by limiting the spread through wearing masks and physical distancing.

“Staying home if they can, because if they do that they’re actually doing a little bit to smooth all this out for everyone,” says Jackson.

While the grocery costs are rising, Jackson says the silver lining is Americans are spending less on transportation costs.

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