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.
Our dollar hasn’t really decreased in value, it stills buys the same amount of labor.
LOL! Between the media and the government, I really don’t know which is the bigger liar.
My computer spreadsheets itemize everything I buy at the grocery stores. I have the date, the store, the item, the size, the price, and a per ounce or per pound price for all the groceries I buy. I can sort the data by any number of variables, so my figures are correct for what I have been paying for my family’s groceries.
Since I started doing this a number of years ago, it has been very interesting to see the price fluctuations and the trends. The most significant trend I discovered is that around the 1st and the 15th of each month prices are at their highest at many stores and the cheapest during the weeks that are not around a normal pay period. I have saved a bundle, just by switching most of my shopping to the cheaper weeks each month.
I also try to buy as much as possible on sale when I shop at regular grocery stores, and use coupons and double them if at all possible. I also buy a lot of things at discount groceries or in bulk. If you are cooking for a family, buying things like cereal, rice, dry beans, pasta, etc. in bulk can save you a lot of money. Many stores now allow you to buy small quantities in their bulk department too, so even a single person can save a lot of money buying things on the bulk aisles.
Yes, there have been some items that have gone through the roof. Until some time last year, I could get plain yellow onions for 79 cents a pound. I paid $1.99/lb earlier this week. I can’t use them fast enough for a bulk bag to be cost effective.
I can’t get a can of beans or tuna for less than 50 cents.
Luckily I don’t by the pre-made stuff often. Most of the stores around me have raised those a little more to offset lower prices on some of the basics.
Excellent observation. I noticed something like this - that every other week was when the good deals materialized - but had not tied it to pay periods.
When do the food stamp cards get “filled up” ?
Being from a large family, and having a few children myself, I definitely believe in the buying in bulk thing; for some reason the logic escapes the missus.
The reason we have 40 million+ on food stamps is because all governments know the French Revolution and Bolshevik Revolution were primarily driven by actual hunger. Our food stamp program is designed to head that off (too well, in fact; we have the fattest poor people in the world). The most noticeable side effect of the unreported inflation is that almost everything involving discretionary dollars is grinding to a halt, contributing to the downward spiral with more layoffs. Here in NJ our casinos, bars, and high-end restaurants and stores are taking a beating, as people who have had their salaries cut or frozen and their credit “revoked” simply focus on necessities (and cheap ones at that). Our municipal employees (the ones that have survived the mass layoffs) are the only people I know still going on cruises, buying new cars, etc., and there aren’t enough of them to keep a consumer-driven economy afloat. Also, the illegal aliens still able to find work are doing OK; price doesn’t seem important to them as they shop with their untaxed cash.
“Our dollar hasnt really decreased in value, it stills buys the same amount of labor.”
It seems to have decreased in value against everything except homes. In terms of necessities, it has absolutely lost value; to see how much, visit Canada and see what your dollars are worth to people who have no reason to lie to you.
“How many of the people who come up with these numbers do you think actually goes grocery sopping themselves? Anyone who actually buys groceries knows that these government numbers are bogus.”
They are simply paid liars in the service of The Sultan. While some think the media is trying to regain some credibility by actually questioning The Sultan, until they realize how many people can see the inflation staring them in the face they have no chance of being taken seriously. Voters knew this was an issue since the election, and have voted accordingly, “shellacking” Obama’s minions despite every effort by his media to run interference for them.
Anyone who puts gas in their car, buys groceries, anything but a home, can see the inflation.
Inflation is caused by massive printing of dollars, with no real backing. The printing is caused by the need for cash to fund all of the stimulus; there is no solid backing for the currency (since even the authority to tax doesn’t hold up well when there is less to tax anyway), and the long-term IOUs behind that paper make it a risky investment indeed.
Germany’s answer to the WWI reparations debt was to simply print billions of Marks; it paid the debt, but de-valued the currency to the point where you had to be paid twice a day (to let you spend the first half day’s pay at lunchtime before it lost value), and prices would change in restaurants while you ate.
The Dems solution to our economic problem is nearly identical, and markets have responded accordingly.
Thanks. I’ll try them. I read on another thread this spring that some people harvest the flowers as they bloom and put them in plastic freezer bags in the freezer till they have collected enough.
I suspect most are to young to recall the Carter and Ford administrations and how horrible things were, we are sort of there now, but the current Fed will just allow inflation to run wild rather then go Volker with 10% interest rates.
FWIW, in France such money saving plots are known as “pottegers”.
Youtube has a “depression era” cooking channel where a 94 yr old grandmother prepares the recipes they made during the depression era, one of them was Dandelion Greens:
Noticed how thoroughly she cleaned them and she tells good tales along the way.
Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out.
I rarely buy onions in bulk, since I usually can find them cheaper by either buying loose onions or in 5 lb. bags. Once in a great while I might pick up a larger bag if it is a great price, but most of the time the smaller size bags or loose onions are cheaper.
If you do buy a larger size bag, sort through them right away, and use the ones that appear to be closest to spoiling first. Onions will also last longer if they are kept in a cool and dark place.
If it doesn’t look like you are going to be able to use them all up before they spoil, chop them up and freeze them in zip lock bags. I like to put about 1 cup of chopped onion in individual sandwich bags, and then throw all the small bags in a larger gallon size freezer bag. Then you can pull them out of the freezer as needed for your recipes.
The prices here for tuna and beans are about the same as in your area. We do have one store that has a coupon about once a month for either Star Kist or Bunble Bee tuna at 3 cans for $1 with a limit of 9 cans. I pick up the maximum I can whenever they are on sale at that price.
I buy dry beans most of the time and cook up a big batch on the weekends and we have half the batch for a dinner that week and I put the other batch in the freezer in a quart size freezer container to have another week. I rotate batches, so one week I might fix black eyed peas, another week navy beans, another black beans, etc., so we don’t get tired of eating the same thing all the time. Depending on the type of bean, the cost of dry beans is usually 20-50% cheaper to buy than prepared canned beans and they taste so much better!
Just about every weekend we are home I have something cooking on the stove. One weekend it might be a home made soup (also made in a double batch), another weekend a stew (again in a double batch), and another weekend beans. I freeze one batch and we eat the other. Then I have quick things to fix on nights I know I will be too tired to cook something from scratch.
Yes, please do try them next spring. You’ll love them.
My friend who gave me the recipe and makes them at our camps, is called Mother Earth. She’s into all that stuff.
I have the recipe exact, if you’d like me to post it so that you will have it. Just lemme know.
Have a great weekend.
question about coffee.....if NOT opened, how long does it stay good?.....don’t drink coffee myself but my son does....
the rice/bean combination supposedly gives you all the complete protein that one needs...I'm going to learn a how to make a good rice and red bean dish.....
watch your bacon too....some pkgs are only 12 ounce....
yes. please post the recipe. Thanks. You have a good weekend to.
The coffee should have an expiry date on it. However it will keep longer than that and taste ok. I am not sure what the outside limits are though.