Why NJ has some of the nation's highest grocery prices: report

New Jersey has some of the highest grocery prices in the nation as inflation continues to take a toll on our food shopping, according to a new report.

Inflation has hit every aspect of American life. While some sectors have begun to normalize, groceries -- or "food at home," as it’s known by the Consumer Price Index – have not.

"It was like $80 for four things. It's too expensive," a shopper told FOX 5 NY.

File: Grocery store (Credit: Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Prices are up by 2.6% in the 12 months that ended January.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as recently as August 2022, the rate of inflation for food was at 11.4% -- the highest since May 1979.

"It’s difficult to keep the budget down. I mean, it’s never enough," a shopper said.

And to the surprise of no one in New Jersey, the Garden State has some of the highest grocery prices in the country, up 6.8% over the last 15 months, according to ConsumerAffairs.

The only states with larger increases were Pennsylvania (8.2%), Vermont (7%), Maryland (7%) and West Virginia (6.9%).

"In general, food prices tend to be higher in the Northeast and the West," Davis told ConsumerAffairs. "The basic reason is more population density and incomes."

Taxes, real estate costs, wages and utilities are to blame, according to the report.

Shoppers tell FOX 5 NY they are price shopping-planning multiple grocery runs to get the best price on staples like meat, eggs, bread, milk and deli.

For other things, they are trying to spread out their costs in the hopes of shopping more efficiently.

"Just for like a week's worth of groceries, it's $200, and that's not even two weeks of groceries," a shopper said.

According to data from the U.S. government, prices are up 25% since 2019. Officials say labor shortages and supply chain issues are to blame. 

The question that no one seems to have the answer to: What it is going to take to bring those prices back down?