Grocery costs in a scramble

Rising prices of general grocery items have placed a strain on West Michigan and the nation entirely, raising more concerns that a recession is inevitable as soon as this year. The strain has gone so far that a recent string of “egg smugglers” are now on U.S. customs officials’ radars in Texas and California.

Avian influenza, commonly referred to as “bird flu,” has created a significant decrease in egg production that has driven prices for a dozen eggs across the country. At the beginning of 2022, the cost of a dozen eggs was as cheap as $1.93 in some areas. To date, the cost for a dozen eggs has reached as far as $4.99 in some local grocery stores such as Meijer.

The costs of other popular grocery items, such as flour, bread, milk and coffee have also risen dramatically, hinting back at the idea of a possible recession in the near future. According to CNN, flour went up almost 24.9%, which was the highest rate of inflation for the product while fruits and vegetables went up by 9.7%.

Several of these costs have been impacted by disease, whether in crops or animals. U.S. lettuce saw an exponential increase this year due to crop disease which caused mass crop failure. Diseases like this lead to low supplies and low quality items on shelves, causing more of a strain on consumers like college students.

College students in Michigan are predicted to spend more than $2,000 on groceries in the 2022-23 school year. On average, college students in the United States are projected to spend around $660 per month on food, between the costs of groceries and eating out. 

Consequently, rising grocery costs have forced more traffic to local food pantries, many of which don’t have the supplies to support the higher demands. MLive reports food banks in Michigan are straining to fill the growing need for food products and distribution to local pantries.

With the rising costs of these items and college students that are already living on a fixed income, students are now forced to make more cuts to an already thin grocery budget when making purchases.

According to Replenish at Grand Valley State University, over 1,000 students face food insecurity. Replenish provides resources for students who struggle with transportation services, the costs of groceries, housing and technology needs as well as financial support. There are multiple locations of Replenish at GVSU, one in the Kirkhof Center, the Steelcase Library and the Cook-DeVos Center for Health Sciences. 

Websites like also provide information detailing local food services near Allendale such as food banks and pantries as well as volunteer opportunities for local drives.