By JOSH LYONSEN, Associated Press food world is struggling to stay afloat amid the economic crisis, and its biggest competitor, the supermarket chain, has slashed prices on a slew of items.
In the grocery industry, food prices have risen dramatically.
In July, food was on average 18.3 percent lower than it was a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
The average price of an average package of bread dipped 1.7 percent in July, the lowest monthly gain since the first quarter of 2013, the data show.
In contrast, food costs rose 14.7% year-over-year in July from a year ago, the most since October 2013.
In a report released Tuesday, the grocery giant said it would cut the price of its staples to help drive down prices.
The price cut will affect about 9.3 million Americans and will cost retailers about $6.2 billion in fiscal year 2019, the report said.
The company is seeking to sell more products that are more expensive than those it has sold before, including cereals, bread, frozen vegetables and fruit.
In July, grocery chain Costco Wholesale Corp. reported it would slash the price on a wide range of products, including bread, cereals and fruits.
The retailer said it will cut the prices of a range of items including bread to 5 cents a loaf, cereal to 2 cents a bag, fruit to 3 cents a pound and ice cream to 3.75 cents a cup.
The grocery chain’s decision comes as consumers and retailers alike face the prospect of more spending cuts due to the economic downturn.
The recession has left grocery stores less profitable than they were a year and a half ago.
In the first three months of this year, grocery stores reported a profit of about $1.3 billion, down from a profit rate of about 20 cents a year before the recession began, according the latest figures from the National Retail Federation.
Walmart Stores Inc., the largest U.S. grocery chain, said it had a net loss of $1 billion during the first six months of fiscal 2018.
In a statement, the company said its sales and profits were down 7.4 percent from a full year ago.
Walmart said the company had a $3 billion net loss in the fiscal year that ended in March.