Shoppers in Massachusetts, particularly in the Boston area, have been grappling with higher expenses at the grocery store.

According to a recent study by Consumer Affairs, grocery prices in Massachusetts climbed by 6.6% over a 12-month period placing the state among the top six in the nation for rate of increase

Why are Boston and its surrounding areas facing more grocery price inflation compared to other parts of the U.S.? Corby Kummer, director of the Food and Society policy program at the Aspen Institute, attributes the increased costs to the unique market dynamics of the state.

“[Prices are up] because of everything we believe in, which is keeping out monolithic national chains that drive small businesses out of business,” Kummer explained on Boston Public Radio on Tuesday.

He mentioned Market Basket, a beloved local chain headquartered in Tewksbury, as a symbol of the “triumph” of smaller business over corporate giants like Walmart and Amazon.

Despite Market Basket’s success, the Boston grocery market remains highly fragmented, featuring a mix of local, regional and national chains, each holding a modest share of the market.

“All these small and medium range businesses… it’s not, Amazon and Walmart muscling in, but The Boston Globe says this is what’s accounting for high prices.”

The abundance of small and medium-sized businesses in Boston prevents any single chain from having the power to reduce prices and sway others to follow.

“Chains, including Aldi, which is super low priced and establishing itself in other urban areas but not Boston, they drive down prices and unfortunately drive out small businesses, but they give consumers a break by lowering prices,” Kummer said.