Rising food prices have been discussed for quite a long time. Everyone from talk radio hosts to truck drivers have been telling us that it was coming. The Consumer Price Index for food has shown increases of 0.5 percent in January, 0.6 percent in February, and 0.8 percent in March.
Economics for the rest of us
An article by Lorrie Griffith in The Shelby Report of the Midwest explains the situation clearly. Wholesale prices have been going up, but the consumer has not felt it so much yet. The wholesale prices of food rose 4% in February! Grocers have been avoiding passing it along to consumers, but that is soon changing if stores are going to stay in business. Oil prices are the predominant reason for increases in the prices of wholesale food, along with freezes in grower states.
Surprisingly, though, after a 4% increase in February’s wholesale prices, March brought a surprise. Although consumer prices, your cost at the store, went up in March, wholesale prices didn’t! MarketWatch.com has this to say:
Wholesale food prices fell 0.2% in March – the first decline since last August — one month after posting the biggest gain since 1974. A 21.4% drop in the price of fresh and dry vegetables accounted for the decrease. Still, the price for food paid by producers has risen 4.4% over the past year.
Stores lending a hand
Nobody knows where this will take us, but some grocery stores are quieting consumer fears with guaranteed price freezes through 2011. At the time of this printing, I was unable to uncover any grocery stores that are doing that yet in the Northeast Tennessee area. Wegmans in Pennsylvania is participating by guaranteeing prices on 40 of the products families use most. Their store brand items are the choices usually offered. If a grocery chain does this for their customers, be sure that you support them.
Dollar Stores have always had a freeze!
While there may not be large grocery store chains freezing prices in Northeast Tennessee yet, there are plenty of dollar stores where the price is frozen by the price on the sign. If everything is a dollar, unless they change the sign, you have a price freeze!
Items to stock up on for a dollar
Here are some things to stock up on just in case:
- Cans of meat: chicken, ham, or tuna
- Canned vegetables: Green beans and corn are predicted to go up because of the freeze.
- Coffee: It may not be your brand, but coffee has already gone up considerably.
- Boxed dinners for tuna, chicken and ham
- Beverages with vitamin C
- Dried fruits
There are Dollar Tree stores across the area, and CVS and Kmart also have dollar sections that will come in good during a budget crunch. CVS on West State Street in Bristol has a large variety of dollar grocery items available.