DELMARVA- If you feel the pinch, high food prices, at the cash register. You’re not alone.
“I prepare the meals; so I’m saving with it, but it’s just a little daunting knowing that’s exactly what it’s going to be,” said Ellie Winkler, a junior from Salisbury University.
The cost of food has increased 11.4% over the past year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is the largest annual increase in 23 years. This can be attributed to supply chain issues, inflation and an outbreak of bird flu.
“If they can fall, that would be great,” Winkler said. “I definitely changed my diet around it.”
Grocery prices have increased 13.5% over the past year. For example, the price of eggs increased by 39.8%. “Unfortunately, this is pushing many consumers into the fast food industry where dollar meals and discounts have offered their families more affordable options,” said Bill Chambers, CEO and President of the Chamber of Commerce of the Salisbury area.
But, it doesn’t stop there. Chicken costs increased by 16.6%. It’s a peak that a local restaurant says it’s no stranger to. “We’ve seen chicken all year and it continues to increase and chickens have always been like the most affordable protein; but now all of a sudden chicken and chicken wings are really expensive. Rich Garrahan, Managing Member of La Vita Hospitality, said.
While those increases may seem like a headache now, economists said store relief may not be in sight anytime soon, including Thanksgiving. Turkey breast meat alone costs $6.50 per pound, in 2021 it was $2.00 per pound. “The prices are astronomical,” Chambers said. “When you look at turkey as a whole, prices are up 57% over the 5-year average, that’s more than red meat; so maybe we should eat steak for Thanksgiving this year.
Even with these changes, those we spoke to are getting creative and staying optimistic
“Whenever there are trends in the economy, the first thing we will try to do is try to pay attention to the customer,” Garrahan said. “We’re still hoping that the things governments are doing and what we’re doing is going to help bring inflation down a bit.”
Bill Chambers said he hopes that with the current drop in energy costs, especially gasoline, this will trickle down and start to have an impact on those higher food prices. He added that he hopes that by next winter or spring, these reduced product costs could be reflected in the economy.