Persistent inflation in food prices proving to be Americans’ biggest financial worry

Yahoo Finance food reporter Brooke DiPalma breaks down how food prices continue to rise and weigh heavier on the average consumer, while Cal-Maine Foods reports record profits tied to soaring egg prices.

Video Transcript

- Well, there has been little relief for consumers' wallets as inflation remains sticky. There's a new Quinnipiac poll out, listing the cost of food as the top financial concern for Americans this year. Brooke DiPalma is here to break down the findings. And, Brooke, what did we learn?

BROOKE DIPALMA: That's right, [INAUDIBLE]. 22% of Americans surveyed said that the most pressing financial concern right now is, in fact, the cost of food. And taking a closer look at the age group that's feeling the impact the most, we're seeing ages 35 to 49, followed by 50 to 64, and 65 plus. And when you think about that age group, perhaps they're the majority of Americans who are doing the weekly grocery shopping at home.

And in addition to that, the average age is 36 now for a home buyer. And so, perhaps, they're buying in from home, and needing to fill those fridge. But keep in mind, this survey was conducted between March 9 to March 13. And so this does give us a more recent snapshot of where exactly consumers are spending, where their heads are out, when it comes to where they're spending their dollars. And this will be a key insight ahead of the next quarterly earnings results.

Of course, we're taking a closer look at Walmart and Target, who have heavily invested in fresh food. Of course, Target-- um, sorry. Of course, Kroger, as well as Albertsons, also a key indicator here, when it comes to where Americans are spending their dollars, and if they're willing to put up with higher cost of food.

- Yeah. And, Brooke, when we talk about the jump that we've seen in, really, across the board at the grocery store-- almost across the board, I should say-- where have we seen the biggest uptick in prices?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, well, this is actually the sixth consecutive month of deceleration, when it comes to food prices off those August highs. But year over year, those numbers are, in fact, staggering. We're seeing double digit growth, when it comes to butter, when it comes to breakfast foods, when it comes to bread, and, of course, eggs. Such a heavy topic earlier this year, up 55.4%.

But we'll get another key read on where exactly food prices are at. And when it comes to March, on April 12, of course, CPI data will be out then. And so we'll get another read then, a fresh update on where food prices are, and how much they're impacting Americans' wallets, that is.

- Yeah. And, Brooke, you mentioned the price of eggs. And that has been something that has really been gaining-- I guess I should say attracting some of the headline attention because of the massive jump that we have seen. Cal-Maine was out with earnings earlier this week, clearly posting a massive jump in profit. Any relief in sight there?

BROOKE DIPALMA: Yeah, I mean, take a look here. Cal-Maine-- sort of, what senate are saying-- are making off of these higher food prices. And the avian flu-- while we saw a bit of a decline there, they actually said in their earning report, that they have no outbreaks at any of their facilities. And yet, we saw record-- record profit of 718%.

In addition to that, we saw them uptick in their selling price per dozen. This year, it's $3.30. That's up from $1.61 last year.

And what a majority of Americans don't realize is that they're probably buying Cal-Maine eggs. They make up about 20% of retail egg market share. And so, once again, not seeing relief too much, up 55.4%. But also, a big question here that the Hill and senate is currently asking is, just how much are these companies making, when it comes to Americans spending money on groceries?

- Yeah. Certainly, that has been a big issue for a number of lawmakers here over the last several months. Brooke DiPalma, great stuff. Thank you.