NerdWallet: What can you do about rising food prices?

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet

Packaged snacks like Oreos and Ritz Crackers are going to get more expensive — and that’s even if you can find the varieties you want on store shelves.

Snack maker Mondelez

is looking at starting off 2022 with a 7% price increase in the U.S., CEO Dirk Van de Put said during Tuesday’s episode of CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”

Mondelez is one of the world’s largest snack companies and is the maker behind brands including Cadbury, Honey Maid, Oreo, Perfect Snacks, Ritz, Sour Patch Kids, Triscuit and Wheat Thins.

Van de Put cited higher prices for commodities, packaging and transportation as factors in the price increase, adding that a shortage of drivers is making it difficult to keep shelves stocked.

“Demand for our categories and brands remains vibrant and volume growth is solid as we implement pricing to reflect higher inflation,” said Van de Put in a prepared statement after the company reported its third quarter 2021 results. “We expect elevated inflation and logistics volatility to persist.”

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It’s not just snack prices that are going up. Higher prices and labor shortages have been plaguing many companies during the COVID-19 pandemic, and those costs have sometimes been passed along to shoppers.

September 2021 food prices rose 4.6% from September 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change paid by consumers for goods and services. Prices for meat, poultry, fish and eggs saw the highest overall price change with a 10.5% increase year-over-year. Cereals and bakery products saw a 2.7% increase.

See: These simple (and tasty) diets help reduce your blood pressure and heart disease

What you can do about rising food prices

Just because food costs are going up doesn’t mean you need to pay more than you can afford. You can save money on groceries by swapping out brand names with generic versions. In a taste test, it might be hard to distinguish a true Oreo from a generic creme cookie. And while the pandemic conditioned people to shop online, you may be able to spend less by heading to the store yourself.

As far as how much you should spend on groceries, most experts recommend that groceries, housing and other essentials take up no more than 50% of your monthly income.

Also read: You don’t have to follow strict rules or give up steak forever, and this diet can have life-changing benefits

But if you do see your grocery bill going up, consider applying for a credit card that earns rewards at grocery stores and supermarkets, so you can at least earn bonus points for that extra spending.

As far as those inflated Oreo prices, it’s unclear how long higher prices at Mondelez will persist. Van de Put said his company is looking at ways to reduce costs, including starting its own trucking routes in the U.S., as well as limiting the range of products that it sells. Stock up on those Double Stufs at this price point before your budget gets too stuffed.

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Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: Twitter: @SAFmedia.

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