Rising food costs frustrate grocery shoppers

Gasoline, freezes are to blame for sharp increases

  • Follow Metro

Unloading her groceries in the parking lot of Food Lion on Windsor Spring Road, Vivian Price said she is growing more frustrated at rising prices.

Back | Next
Doug King, the owner of Doug's Meat Shop on Deans Bridge Road, has been in the food industry for 60 years and said he has never seen the prices of food skyrocket so high. "It's going to have to drop," he said. "They're being driven up so much."   Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Doug King, the owner of Doug's Meat Shop on Deans Bridge Road, has been in the food industry for 60 years and said he has never seen the prices of food skyrocket so high. "It's going to have to drop," he said. "They're being driven up so much."

"I think it's awful," she said of having to pay increasingly more for staple items. "I don't know how anybody makes it anymore."

Prices paid by U.S. consumers for food, energy and other goods and services jumped in February for the third consecutive month.

The government said food costs increased 0.6 percent, the most since September 2008. Food costs rose for almost all major grocery groups, including meat and eggs, dairy, and fruits and vegetables. The cost of cereals and baked goods was flat, the only group that didn't increase.

Doug King has been in the food industry for 60 years and said he never has seen food prices skyrocket like this.

"It's quite a big difference," he said. "This is different than anything in the past."

King, the owner of Doug's Meat Shop on Deans Bridge Road, said meat prices are so high he thinks they'll have to drop soon.

"It's going to have to drop," he said. "They're being driven up so much."

Simon Medcalfe, who teaches economics at Augusta State University, said several factors are contributing to the price increases.

"Gas prices are certainly a large part of it, especially concerns about the situation in the Middle East," he said.

Gas prices jumped 4.7 percent in February, above January's increase but below December's rise. Oil and gas prices have risen sharply since the beginning of the year because of political turmoil in the Middle East.

Medcalfe also said early freezes have created harvesting problems for growers, resulting in decreased quantity and quality of produce.

Price has noticed and said she believes she's getting lower-quality food.

"Somebody needs to do something," she said. "It's bad for everybody."

Because the agricultural issues are unexpected, Medcalfe said consumers might see prices drop in the next few seasons.

"Some of these increases may be temporary, but prices are pretty reflective of the fundamental costs to the retailer," he said.

North Augusta Walmart shopper Pam Waller has noticed the rising prices, but doesn't feel like there is much she can do about it.

"I find myself searching more for bargains and looking more in the sale pages," she said.

Associated Press reports were used in this story.

Price of food, by the numbers

The U.S. Department of Labor said food costs increased 0.6 percent in February, the most since September 2008. Food costs rose for almost all major grocery store groups, including meat and eggs, dairy, and fruits and vegetables:

PRODUCTFEB. 2011JAN. 2011DEC. 2010
Loaf of bread$1.398$1.401$1.386
Pound of ground chuck$3.058$2.991$2.932
Pound of chicken$1.266$1.241$1.280
Dozen eggs$1.708$1.806$1.793
Gallon of milk$3.357$3.301$3.318
Pound of bananas$0.625$0.596$0.587
Pound of coffee$4.218$4.417$4.146

Source: U.S. Department of Labor

Prices changing

GALLON OF MILK

$3.357

+$0.039 since Dec.

LOAF OF BREAD

$1.398

+$0.012 since Dec.

A DOZEN EGGS

$1.708

-$0.085 since Dec.

POUND OF GROUND CHUCK

$3.058

+$0.126 since Dec.

POUND OF BANANAS

$0.625

+$0.038 since Dec.

Comments (12) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
usapatriot
0
Points
usapatriot 03/19/11 - 03:04 am
0
0
1/3 of the US corn crop went

1/3 of the US corn crop went to ethanol in 2009. More corn is planted, thus less other crops, to take advantage of the higher prices paid for it going to ethanol.

every acre dedicated to corn for ethanol is an acre less for soybeans, wheat, hay. Every bushel of corn going to ethanol is a bushel less going to cooking oil and animal feed.

Obama renewed the ethanol subsidy at .45 cents/gallon produced. Your tax dollars.

Brazil exports ethanol from sugar cane. It's 8 times more powerful than corn ethanol. Obama reinstated a .54 cent / gal tariff on Brazil's ethanol.

Govt is trying to manage our agriculture. Thus, it has created shortages of animal feed, flour and cooking oil. What we formerly exported in wheat and corn is replaced by more corn acreage and corn going to ethanol.

Animal feed is more expensive. Wheat for flour is in shorter supply. The dollar sucks around the world. Our trade deficit has been going up because we make ethanol from corn instead of exporting it.

And your tax dollars subsidize ethanol @ .45 cents/gal. 2009 cost us about $5 Billion in 2009.

Liberalism achieves the opposite of its stated intentions.

charliemanson
1
Points
charliemanson 03/19/11 - 07:30 am
0
0
Rising prices can be summed

Rising prices can be summed up in one word: INFLATION. Inflation is a clever way the government transfers wealth from you to them (i.e., higher taxes on everything you buy).

bclicious
611
Points
bclicious 03/19/11 - 07:42 am
0
0
In the words a great man that

In the words a great man that we all love and adore "CHANGE"

All I can say is expect more of this stuff to come folks!

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/19/11 - 09:29 am
0
0
Get used to these higher

Get used to these higher prices. Here are a few more reasons they are going up & will continue to go up.

This article has missed quite a few key issues.

1. Corn is being used for fuel instead of food for us and for livestock.
2. The govt is printing money and that is causing inflation. Your dollar is worth 8% less than it was 2 years ago. The govt is wiping out our savings. This is terrible for retired folks.
3. QE3, which IS coming soon could start us into hyperinflation mode - how about $25 for a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, how does that sound? This is worse for retired folks.
4. World demand for food, fuel, cotton is up. Supply & demand dictates higher prices.
5. Our energy prices are about to go higher because the obama admin. just uleashed the EPA to regulate coal emissions which is where 45% of our electricity comes from. You know, our energy prices are "necessarily skyrocketing".
6. Oil costs are rising because of unrest in the Middle East. Much of this unrest is being egged on by the American Unions. Egypt was directly meddled with by the unions & our socialists here in America - they started their plan back in 2009.
7. Oil workers are striking in Oman for higher wages so no oil is being produced there. Guess who is egging them on. You got it, American Unions. Pure Evil. "Workers of the World Unite, It's not just a slogan anymore." Quote by Communist Andy Stern, former SEIU President.

Most of these issues lie directly in the hands of our community organizer who is so inept and dangerous for America that I'm afraid we cannot wait 2 years to remove him from office.

corgimom
26303
Points
corgimom 03/19/11 - 10:57 am
0
0
1. Yes, Obama dictates that

1. Yes, Obama dictates that farmers sell corn for fuel instead of livestock.

2. Yes, Obama commanded the Federal Reserve Board to print money.

3. Yes, Obama will be directly responsible for a $25 loaf of bread.

4. When it comes to world demand for food and cotton, Obama is the only person in control of that.

5. Our energy prices are skyrocketing because of Obama. They've been skyrocketing since 1973, but that's Obama's fault, too.

6. Oil costs are rising because of unrest in the Middle East. Much of this unrest is being egged on by the American Unions. The Middle East has been politically unstable for thousands of years, but that, too, is Obama's fault.

7. Oil workers are striking in Oman for higher wages so no oil is being produced there. Obama controls everything on Earth.

8. I have a terrible cold. It is Obama's fault, and it's being egged on by the Unions. And my beagle's nails need cutting- that's in Obama's control, too.

Hey, if #1-7 is true, why not #8?

It is amazing to me that so many people are so ignorant of American government and think that the President has control of all of this. The POTUS is not a monarch.

Personally, I'm still waiting for the sweeping change that was supposed to occur when the Tea Party people got elected to office. I'm still waiting. What have the Tea Party members done, and what's planned? Somebody help me out here.

Looks to me like more of the same, no matter what party they belong to.

bclicious
611
Points
bclicious 03/19/11 - 11:01 am
0
0
Hey, no one said it was

Hey, no one said it was Obama's fault; well, except you (corgimom). I only said that things are going to get worse, and one of my favorite quotes is "CHANGE".

hamrg
0
Points
hamrg 03/19/11 - 12:50 pm
0
0
Summary of an article I read

Summary of an article I read recently, but can't remember where:

"Over 44 million Americans are now on food stamps 13.1% higher than it was just one year ago.
According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States rose to 10.3% at the end of February.
New home sales in the U.S. in January were 11.2% lower than they were in December. The number of new home sales in January was 18.6% lower than the number of new home sales in January 2010.
The U.S. government is either writing or guaranteeing well over 90 percent of all mortgages in the United States.
More than a million U.S. families lost their homes in 2010.
There are areas in most of our major cities that appear like “war zones”. There are approximately 15,000 vacant buildings in the city of Chicago and there are approximately 60,000 vacant houses and apartments in the city of Las Vegas.
U.S. drivers spent an average of $347 on gasoline in February – 30% more than a year earlier. This represented 8.5% of median monthly income, and it may be $6-7 per gallon by June.
The number of Americans that have become so discouraged that they have given up searching for work completely and the total unemployment rate now stands at about 23%.
The truth is that there is no sign that any of the long-term trends that are destroying the U.S. economy are even slowing down.
Millions of jobs continue to be shipped overseas.
The U.S. dollar continues to be devalued.
The federal government continues to go into more debt.
State and local governments continue to go into more debt.
Our trade deficit continues to grow.
Our cities continue to be transformed into wastelands as they are being systematically deindustrialized.
The number of Americans that are dependent on the government continues to soar.
The U.S. middle class continues to shrink.
The U.S. economy is dying a very painful death and there is no hope on the horizon.
Things are not going to be getting better. Well, they may get a bit better for the boys down on Wall Street, but for the rest of us our standards of living are going to continue to decline.
The best days for the U.S. economy are already behind us. What lies ahead is a whole lot of pain.
We are going to pay the price for decades of corruption and incompetence.
An economic collapse is coming and you had better get ready."

I think growing a garden might help a lot and figuring out ways to save gasoline too is going to be key. I've lived in several countries where the economy totally collapsed and having a home garden and a clean source of water was the difference between starvation and survival. Electricity was only available at 6-8 AM and 9-10 PM. Water doesn't work without electricity because the pumps need electricity.

When I was living in Augusta Harrisburg with people that have already been living in an economic depression all of their lives they did things like car pool twice a month to save a lot and buy items in bulk which helped spread out the food assistance money. They also walk a lot more or take the bus because many do not have a car.

Caretaker
0
Points
Caretaker 03/19/11 - 03:05 pm
0
0
Shepherd, I don't know where

Shepherd, I don't know where you are shopping, but those prices you quoted are way low. And if you try to buy organic (not wanting to eat GMO crap or foods w/o fillers) you will pat twice that amount.

unclemorriss
0
Points
unclemorriss 03/19/11 - 03:20 pm
0
0
we haven't seen anything yet,

we haven't seen anything yet,

usapatriot
0
Points
usapatriot 03/19/11 - 07:38 pm
0
0
35% of income is govt

35% of income is govt entitlements. ZYour tax dollar.

usapatriot
0
Points
usapatriot 03/20/11 - 12:34 am
0
0
hamrg. we're screwed. right

hamrg. we're screwed. right where Obama, the Saul Alinsky and Clowad and Piven crowd want us to be.

less than 2 yrs and we can start to get back on track. may history not have mercy on this no leadership experience, incognito, liberal media loved community aggitator.

atcampbell
0
Points
atcampbell 03/24/11 - 10:57 pm
0
0
Wow, hamrg, your post was the

Wow, hamrg, your post was the most positive thing I've read today...Okay, I mean the part after the really depressing but accurate quote. The thing is, we have to figure out ways to live sustainably on the Earth. This isn't the first time in history that all this has happened. Let's learn from other people's experiences, instead of repeating mistakes. My point? In many other countries, people have had to learn the power of community. Carpooling, a community garden, getting together to buy in bulk and reduce transportation costs--these are all useful sustainable lifestyle changes that we will soon have to make. Embrace it!

In my neighborhood, I have a group of friends who buy more or less the same things I do. We make bulk deals directly with distributors and get the goods delivered to our doorstep. Then we split the goods and the costs. Of course, we save a ton, sometimes up to 40%. We also take turns making weekly trips to local farms to buy fresh produce in bulk. We get things cheaper than at the store or even the farmer's market, we support local businesses, and we reduce our carbon footprint by not driving so much.

With access to the Internet so freely available, there's no excuse to not get organized and coordinate a community movement. We use an online tool called SplitStuff (http://splitstuff.com) to organize ourselves and it's been working great.

It's easy to feel alarmed and hard to take action. Hope these tips help.

Annette

Back to Top

Top headlines

Vogtle workforce hits 4,200

About 4,200 workers are employed at the Plant Vogtle expansion project where the first two reactors built in the U.S. in more than three decades are rising from the red clay.
Loading...