Skip to comments.Economy: The rising cost of eating
Posted on 11/03/2011 8:26:01 PM PDT by DeaconBenjamin
A surge in food prices this year is impacting local grocery stores and restaurants, which in turn affects the people buying food from these places.
But in many cases, owners of eateries and shopping venues say they have little choice but to raise prices to keep up with costs.
Oh yeah, prices have gone up like crazy, said Mike Hetelekides, owner of The Villager Restaurant and Diner in Canandaigua. We cant keep up.
The U.S. Agriculture Department said last week that it expects retail food prices to increase 3.5 percent to 4.5 percent this year, after climbing just 0.8 percent in 2010.
Jo Natale, the director of media relations at Wegmans, said a couple factors have led to the increase.
Higher commodity costs, higher energy costs and a greater demand for food globally has contributed to driving food costs up, said Natale. Cost increases are pretty consistent across the board.
She said that specific commodity costs that have increased include wheat, corn, soy and anything that feeds on those three foods. Transportation costs are also up, she added, which factors into the pricing.
For restaurants, there are other things to consider, aside from just the price of the food specifically.
Hetelekides said his establishment changed its menus and prices just over a year ago, and as a result, hasnt raised the prices again to keep up with the more recent inflating food costs. Thats mostly because it would cost too much to change the menus, he said.
But with the steady rise in flour, bread, meat and especially coffee prices, he fears theyll have to change those menus sooner, rather than later.
Theres nothing else you can do, he said. Its easier for distributors to raise prices, but restaurants have to deal with customers.
Some customers may still go to their favorite spots even with a slight increase in cost.
We changed prices (over a year ago) because of the economy, but it didnt take that much of a toll on our business, said Helen Hendershot, a waitress at The Villager in Canandaigua. We still have our regulars.
Hetelekides said a majority of customers will understand why restaurants need to adjust pricing.
Most people understand, he said. Theyll see the changes for themselves at the supermarket.
However, some supermarkets like Wegmans have taken measures to combat those changes.
We committed in February to keeping prices of 40 items frozen, and to keep those prizes frozen through 2011, Natale said referring to everyday items like bananas, ground beef, baby-cut carrots and some coffee products. Spread out through different categories, flavors and varieties, this impacted about 200 products, she said.
Natale said she didnt know where the prices on those products would stand after 2011.
Beyond that, we do our best to consider prices for customers, she said. We check competitors prices regularly as well.
I haven’t had coffee for months now it looks like peanut butter is the next to go.
One candy bar downsized and had the audacity to advertise "Less Fat".
Agreed on many points. That stupid deal to use corn for bio-fuel is much bigger fraud than Solyndra. Importing food is OK in some cases such as seasonal fruits & Veggies from S. America where seasons are opposite of ours.
noticed at the local supermarket the other day that my customary 20oz loaf of (coughSaraLee errhemm)bread is now a ‘new! convenient 16 oz size!’ - robbed of 6 slices for the same price. Not a happy camper.
Bought 8 big jars 3 weeks ago. Plan to grow some peanuts next spring.
Chicory grows wild in Missouri. I plan to roast the roots and start mixing in with my coffee. I bought 15 cans back when they had a sale of Maxwell house for a little more than $4.00 per jumbo can. Still have 5 months worth on the shelf.
When the gasoline prices went up, the first thing I did was head to the store to purchase as many staples as I could. Lived through the oil shocks of the 70’s, and I knew food would soon become very expensive.
Good thing the government removed food and energy from inflation calculations. Otherwise Pres. Obama might lose!
20 years ago, I used to buy Wendy’s Chili for lunch. Big chunks of hamburger, and it came for a reasonable price. Then they started advertising low fat. You guessed it, very little hamburger.
I watched them harvesting peanuts yesterday in a field near my house. When they load the peanuts from the harvester to the trucks, they leave pyramid shaped piles of peanuts when they leave...I'll be getting some of those when they're done. (They said okay last year)
Had a grocery gift card from my employer last Christmas. Just stocked up on rice and peanut butter. If I get one this Christmas, I’ll do the same.
Times ARE tough; I’d usually use it for hard liquor...
Print more money, that will fix the problem.
I think he meant Skippy peanut butter.
But gosh, I loved your response. LOL
Obama and the DNC ruining this country with they’re crap that makes Gore and Obama’s slush fund providers billionaires can go back to hell.
I quit coffee three months ago for health reasons but I have a ‘boatload’ stored because I knew damn well rising fuel costs were going to cause the price to skyrocket.
Though I can’t drink it, coffee(along with liquor) will be a great bartering item if the economy really tanks.
I just looked that up.
I think we call those Cornflowers. Have you ever heard of that?
I first tasted coffee with chicory when we went to New Orleans, and I liked it very much. It was used during the civil war to stretch the coffee.
Since we have some growing between the road and the house, I thought it would be worth making some of my own, but I haven't finished researching how to yet.
I am the one who purchases the groceries in my house. I don’t know what they include in their basket of food products, but the price of the groceries we buy has gone up far more than 5%. Milk is up 35% from last year at this time. The bread we used to buy is up 42%, so we are now going to a bakery outlet store and buying their cheap wheat bread for .95 cents a loaf instead of the bread we prefer that is now $4.59 per loaf.
Cheap cuts of beef and pork are also up at least 35% and some cuts even more. Sale prices for Thanksgiving turkey’s so far have been 99 cents per pound this year, last year I paid between 23 and 26 cents per pound for all the turkey’s I bought for the holidays.
Last summer I often picked up fresh corn on sale for 6 ears for $1, this summer the best price I saw for corn was 4 for $1 and it wasn’t very often I could even find it at that price. Other veggies and fruits have also shown similar increases.
Many food products also come in smaller packages now, or at least the number of ounces is mpw less than it was previously. Many pasta’s now come in 12 oz. packages instead of 16 oz., mayonaise jars are now 30 ounces instead of 32 ounces, etc., yet they are charging the same or a higher price for them now. No one can tell me that food prices are up only 5% or less!