A Facebook Trend Inspired Me to Renew an Instacart Order From 2020, and the Difference in Price Is Insane

Grocery bills have nearly doubled in the last four years.

Rising cost of groceries
Updated July 18, 2024
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If you've noticed your grocery bills rising, you aren't alone. The increasing cost of a basic grocery bill has grown large enough that many are struggling to afford food, and a viral social media trend has Instacart users pulling up old receipts to see exactly how much prices have raised. 

The results are shocking, but are they real? We dug into our own Instacart order history from 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to do our own price check. See some of the worst offenders we found in price hikes. 

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Food Lion

Cassandra Yorgey Food Lion order June 2020

In June 2020, an order of 31 items totaled $110.64 from Food Lion. In July 2024, slapping that "reorder" button on Instacart added only 21 items to the cart — but it still totaled $110.31. A few of the missing items are simply unavailable now; however, many items are standardly stocked and seem to be missing because the item's name was slightly altered. 

It's not just Food Lion where we saw this occurring, as next, we checked in on Kroger. 


Kroger

Cassandra Yorgey Kroger order Sept 2020

We checked a Kroger order from September 2020 and found 35 items totaling $137.74. Comparatively, hitting the reorder button today dropped to 18 items in our cart, totaling $114.61. 

Once again, the items that didn't automatically reorder were a mix of not available or were available under a slightly changed product title. 

This makes direct comparisons difficult, but we can still see the price differences on each product that made it back into the cart. See which items had the most significant increases in the past four years. 

Coca-Cola

Courtesy of FinanceBuzz coca cola packs in costco store

Soda prices have skyrocketed since the pandemic but have also skyrocketed during the pandemic. There was a time when most groceries sold a 12-pack case of cans under buy one, get one deals or similar sales that allowed soft drinks to be purchased very affordably. 

That was brought to an abrupt halt with the onset of the pandemic, and pricing reverted to $7.99 for a 24-pack. Ordering that same case of 24 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola now costs $13.99 — almost double the cost. 

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Food Lion brand canned corn

E.O./Adobe three corn cobs

Canned veggies are commonly stocked in pantries and are typically low-priced, but that price has increased. A small can (8.5 ounces) previously cost $.59 and is now $.78. That might not seem like a lot when it's just one can, but it starts adding up quickly when you purchase multiples. 

Stouffer's frozen dinners

Monkey Business frozen microwave dinner

Taking a day off from cooking with frozen microwave meals has significantly increased prices from pre-pandemic pricing. 

A simple spaghetti with meat sauce used to cost $3.09 but is now $4.39. Workers who like to pop a frozen meal in the microwave for lunch hour can really feel that hit each week in their wallet, and that is only compounded for families using this as an alternative solution to pizza night. 

Maruchan ramen noodles

rimglow/Adobe Ramen Noodles Uncooked

The signature staple of starving college students everywhere is a reliable pack of crackered ramen noodles, but the price has doubled since 2020. A 10-pack previously cost $3.20, but that same pack today costs $7.90.  


Charmin toilet paper

Roman toilet paper

We all remember the great toilet paper shortage of 2020, but with that well and over, why are prices even higher now? A Charmin six-roll pack of "mega" rolls rang in at $7.99. This was one of the items that did not automatically add back to the cart but is still available. 

The price now is $9.99, but the price hikes look even more outlandish on the larger packs — 24 rolls now cost $34.39. Food isn't just more expensive going in; it now also costs more on the way out.

Panera Bread soup

ColleenMichaels - stock.adobe.com Panera Bread soup

Panera Bread is one of the many restaurant chains that integrated an at-home grocery store product line, but the price has nearly doubled. A 16-ounce tub of their chicken tortilla soup went from $4.99 to $7.99. 

Drano

wolterke - stock.adobe.com Drano

Keeping a clean home is more expensive than ever, and items that used to slide on to our bills without noticeable impact on our wallets are becoming a burden. For example, keeping a bottle of Drano drain cleaner on hand for emergencies went from $3.99 to $6.59. 

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Kroger brand granola bars

New Africa granola bars

Granola bars are perfect for breakfast, a snack, or tossing in a packed lunch — but now they're packing a punch to the wallet, too. Kroger brand granola bars went from $2.49 up to $3.99. Quaker-brand granola bars currently cost $5.99. 

Kroger brand salsa

fahrwasser/Adobe Red tomato spicy salsa with chips

Grabbing a family-size 70-ounce jar of salsa from the Kroger brand used to cost $4.99, less expensive than much smaller jars of brand-name options. Today, that same amount of salsa costs $8.49 — nearly double the price. 

Bottom line

Wayhome Studio/Adobe unrecognizable woman holds receipts and pencil

Consumers are told inflation has been in the single-digit percentiles, often cited as around 4%, but that contradicts the data we can all see with our own eyes. Grocery bills have roughly doubled, along with similar increases across other necessities, but paychecks have not. 

A notable exception to these price increases is the Aldi grocery store chain. Its rotating weekly Aldi Finds and changing seasonal stock make it difficult to copy exact orders, but the prices remain very similar between receipts from 2020 and 2024. 


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Author Details

Cassandra Yorgey

Cassandra Yorgey is a journalist with more than 15 years of experience covering a multitude of topics ranging from science-fiction and fantasy genre reviews to the impacts of sociological developments on the political landscape. She champions financial literacy and consumer protections that value human life over monetary profits. She has been featured in both online and print publications, including AOL, Examiner, MSN, Exemplore, Yellowbook, and Wealth of Geeks.