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Consumers blame White House, supply chain for grocery inflation

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A new poll showed fewer consumers are blaming the pandemic for spiking prices at the grocery store.

A growing number of consumers are blaming the policies coming out of the White House for grocery inflation, while fingers pointed at the pandemic decreased, according to a new poll.  

A new survey by the Consumer Brands Association and Ipsos found the number of Americans who blame the pandemic for rising costs at the grocery store dropped more than 10% since February, knocking it from the top spot to the No. 3 position.   

Now, Americans are pointing a finger at the White House, according to the survey. More Americans blame President Joe Biden’s policies for grocery inflation than any other issue—29.4% in June compared to 26.7% in February, the Consumer Brands/Ipsos survey reported. 

Rising grocery prices are putting a financial squeeze on Americans, who are also paying more at the gas pump and for other household items and consumer goods. In fact, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Americans said higher prices at the grocery store were having a very significant impact on their household budgets, the survey showed. Only 6% of Americans said grocery inflation had no impact on their household budgets. 

While Americans blame the supply chain, in part, for their staggering grocery bills, they also feel the supply chain could be the solution to ease grocery inflation.  

Supply chain costs and constraints claimed the blame for grocery inflation by 26.9% of Americans in June. The supply chain also saw the greatest uptick in blame from Americans—an increase of 6 percentage points since February. Half of Americans said solving the supply chain crisis would ease inflation. Still, 23% said they were unsure whether addressing the supply chain would help grocery prices and 26% said it would have no impact, according to the survey. 

To combat spiking prices, Americans are cutting back on household expenditures, the survey showed. More than half of Americans (52%) are cutting back on gas by driving less, and half (50%) are cutting their entertainment expenses by spending less on eating out, concerts and sporting events. Americans are also stalling large purchases (47%), traveling less (46%) and buying fewer clothing items and other goods (42%). 

Only about a third (35%) are cutting back at the grocery store to manage the impact of inflation. Groceries, unlike some purchases, are considered essential by Americans, which means consumers are more willing to absorb price increases at the grocery store. However, rising costs are driving a decline in online grocery sales, a different survey reported. Mass retail customers were 34% more likely than grocery customers to cite cost (i.e., not paying more than necessary) as the most important factor when deciding where to buy groceries online.  

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