Food Prices Rise With Persistent Supply Chain Problems

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TUCSON (KVOA) – Like so many things these days, Americans pay more at the grocery store.

The US Department of Labor announced the largest annual inflation gain since the department began tracking last week – 8.3 percent. This translates into higher prices on the register, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that food prices rose 0.4% in August.

“A $ 50 bag now looks like it’s $ 90,” said Tucson buyer Heather Hardy.

There are so many factors influencing your grocery bill right now, but it’s all stemming from supply chain issues related to the pandemic.

Meat, poultry, fish and eggs are up almost 6% from last year and more than 1% from prices in August 2019, before the pandemic. Farmers say they don’t see any of these cost increases turning into benefits. Their prices were negotiated a year ago.

“The price increases are not based on what they buy from the farmer,” said Jon Post of Post Farms. “They are based on bringing this product to market.”

The number one problem? A shortage of truckers delivering to grocery stores.

“Freight is becoming a sticking point for anyone trying to get containers across the ocean, to truck across the United States,” said Mark Miller, president of the Arizona Food Marketing Alliance.

Miller also said the job was a problem. The grocery industry has had to increase benefits to attract and keep workers.

Plant closures also have an impact on your food production. Miller said plant closures in Texas and West Virginia have meant that “even the manufacturers are struggling to get some of the plastic containers for the ketchup, for the drinks.”

As prices go up, some things are just more difficult to come by. Food inflation is also hitting the restaurant industry.

“The hard things to get vary almost every week,” said Grant Krueger, owner of Union Public House. “We had issues with basic protein, chicken breasts, chicken wings and some cuts of seafood got very tough.”

As Americans continue to pay more for food and other goods, many economists believe inflation may have peaked last month. Miller said food prices are falling, but he said supply chain issues still exist. In the meantime, consumers may have fewer options at the supermarket.


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