Why does my cheeseburger cost so much? Most ingredients touched by inflation.

Apr 19, 2022, 8:42 AM | Updated: 12:42 pm
cheeseburger inflation...
FILE: The price increases in the average cheeseburger are a good guidepost for understanding the current impacts of inflation. Photo by Andrew Burton/Getty Images

SALT LAKE CITY — You are at your favorite restaurant and you just ordered a cheeseburger and the price has jumped 30% since you were here last. What’s the story? You guessed it. Inflation. From gasoline to cheeseburgers, Americans are seeing the biggest price increases since 1981.

Ximena Bustillo from Politico joined Inside Sources host Boyd Matheson to talk about her article with Steven Overly published Wednesday: This cheeseburger explains your bigger grocery bill.

Is the $20 cheeseburger on the horizon?

“Is our cheeseburger going to become a $20 cheeseburger? Or what does the horizon look like for those of us who love cheeseburgers?” Boyd asked.

Bustillo said there are many factors involved in the rising prices consumers see today. They include drought, wildfire, labor, and supply chain disruptions.

“So many are sometimes even out of like human hands to really know how much we’re going to be paying next month,” she said.

Why your cheeseburger costs so much more today

According to the Bustillo/Overly article, these cheeseburger ingredients have jumped in price since March 2021:

  • The price of bread went up 7.1%. (Ukraine is a major wheat exporter.)
  • The price of bacon has jumped 18.2%. (Four companies — Smithfield, JBS, Tyson, and Hormel — control 67 percent of the market. The Biden administration has made the industry a focus of its anti-consolidation push.)
  • The price of an avocado is 39% higher. (More than 80% of avocados sold and distributed for consumption in the U.S. are imported from Mexico, specifically Michoacan. Organized-crime groups in Mexico have become involved in agriculture production. The USDA suspended importation due to a U.S. inspector in Mexico receiving a death-threat phone call from a cartel gangster.)
  • The price of tomatoes has inched up 1.7%.
  • The cost of lettuce increased by 12%. Blame this price increase on ice, low temperatures and wind in California and Arizona, and also gasoline.
  • The price of mayo is up 14.9% due to stiff competition in the soybean-oil market.
  • The price of cheese climbed 3.1%. (Milk is perishable so it has to be shipped quickly and that means gasoline.)
  • And most importantly of all, beef, which costs 16% more than last year. (Tyson, JBS, National and Cargill control over 80% of the beef-supply chain. COVID-19 sickened workers, so processing plants were forced to close. They are struggling to find enough workers now to reach full capacity.)

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Why does my cheeseburger cost so much? Most ingredients touched by inflation.