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A possible end to rising grocery store prices nationwide

Prices at grocery stores have fluctuated throughout the COVID pandemic, but some price relief could soon be on the way.

BREWER, Maine — Between out-of-stock items, staffing shortages, and inflation impacts, grocery stores are another industry struggling through the pandemic. But now, there may be an end in sight.

According to NBC News, the biggest grocery price hikes nationally and in the northeast have been meat products like bacon, ground beef, and chicken. The average price in the U.S. for a pound of bacon as of last month is $5.81, an increase of 75 cents in less than a year.

Husson University Professor Steven Cunningham, Ph.D., said while prices continued to go up in August, they now seem to be on a downward trend, and he expects that to continue.

"They're coming down, the growth rates are coming down. And unfortunately, in many cases, we won't see prices absolutely go down but they'll stop rising," Cunningham said. 

Professor Cunningham said the trends indicate costs could return to pre-pandemic prices as soon as December or January.

Seth Wheeler, store manager for the Brewer IGA, said bringing in local products helps the store keep prices down, but there is a much bigger issue on their hands: out-of-stock items.

James Roy, Brewer IGA produce manager, said the store does the best they can with what distributors deliver to them. 

"They'll be limited on the amount that they can send us so instead of getting like five boxes of something we'll just get like one," Roy said.

To save money when they can, shoppers say they try to only buy what they need instead of bulk and check the store's flyers to compare prices. 

Professor Cunningham suggested shopping local is another great way to save money. 

"We live in a great state where we have lots of agricultural products readily available and why wouldn't you take advantage of that," Cunningham said.