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I-Team asks economic expert to weigh in on 12 weeks worth of TMJ4 Price Tracker data

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Posted at 5:27 AM, May 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-13 07:19:24-04

MILWAUKEE — TMJ4's I-Team has been monitoring price patterns of several grocery store staples since Feb. 25. Every Friday, we've been visiting several Milwaukee and suburban grocery stores and checking the price of ground beef, milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and potatoes.

Click here to view Price Tracker data.

Consumer Investigator Kristin Byrne asked the President of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, Tim Sheehy, to look over the data and give his opinion on the findings.

He said a lot of factors play into these price patterns.

"This is the perfect inflation cocktail," Sheehy said. "What they're all facing is a rising cost of gas for their transportation, a labor shortage so they have to pay more. There's still demand out there for it. A lot of people want the products. So, that's the perfect recipe for rising inflation and why we're seeing it."

Sheehy said that's not even factoring in the war in Ukraine, the pandemic's role on the supply chain, and the Avian flu outbreak.

Take eggs for example. At some stores, we saw the price of a dozen of eggs jump from $1.89 on March 11 to $3.29 on May 6.

"So, I think it depends upon where the product is being sourced, the purchasing power of the ultimate store that's delivering it, and then how much labor is going into the product itself," Sheehy explained.

For example, ground beef requires more processing than potatoes. The I-Team's Price Tracker data shows at most of these retailers, ground beef prices went up and sales aside haven't dipped back down, while potatoes have mostly stayed consistent in price.

Sheehy also warns that the prices of some food products, especially packaged items, may not have changed, but the amount inside has.

"What may have been twelve ounces might now be ten ounces. What might have been a pound and a half, might now be a pound."

Sheehy said that based on past economic data, he thinks we're going to move out of this period of high inflation in the next year and a half.

"It's difficult. it's a challenging time."

Click here to view Price Tracker data.

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Tracking grocery prices

Starting on Feb. 25, 2022, the TMJ4 I-Team is visiting several Milwaukee-area stores to track the change in prices of a select basket of goods. You can see our shopping list below. On the left, you can see several graphics tracking the changing prices at each store. Some items are subject to sales on a week by week basis.