“The prices are astronomical”: Economists continue to see rising food costs

DELMARVA- If you’re feeling the pinch, from high food prices, at the cash register. You’re not alone.

“I do meal prepping; so I save with that but it’s just a little daunting knowing that’s just what its going to be,” Ellie Winkler, a Salisbury University Junior, said.

The cost of food is up 11.4% in the past year, that’s according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. It’s the highest annual increase in 23 years. That can be attributed to supply chain issues, inflation, and an outbreak of the avian bird flu.

“If they can fall that would be nice,” Winkler said. “I’ve definitely kind of changed my diet around it.”

Prices for groceries rolled up to 13.5% over the past year. For example, the price of eggs is up 39.8%. “Unfortunately, this is driving a lot of consumers to the fast food industry where the dollar meals and the discounts have provided their families with more affordable options,” Bill Chambers, CEO and President of Salisbury Area Chamber of Commerce, said.

But, it doesn’t stop there. Chicken costs are up 16.6%.  It’s a spike one local restaurant says they’re no stranger to. “We’ve seen the chicken all year long and that continues to go up and chickens always been like the most price friendly protein; but now all of sudden chicken and chicken wings are really expensive.” Rich Garrahan, a managing member of La Vita Hospitality, said.

While these increases may seem like a headache now, economists said relief at the store may not be in sight any time soon, including for Thanksgiving. Turkey breast meat alone is $6.50 a pound, in 2021 it was 2.00 dollars a pound. “The prices are astronomical,” Chambers said. “When you look at turkey as a whole, the prices are up 57% over 5 year average, that’s higher than red meat; so maybe we should eat steak for Thanksgiving this year.”

Even with these changes, those we spoke with are being creative and staying optimistic

“Whenever there’s trends in the economy the first thing we will try to do is try to look out for the customer,” Garrahan said. “We’re still hopeful with things that’s the governments doing and what we are doing are going to help curtail inflation a little bit.”

Bill Chambers said he’s hoping with lower energy costs right now, in particular gasoline, it will trickle down and start to impact these higher food prices. He added that he hopes by Winter or next Spring those lowered product costs could be reflected in the economy.

Categories: Delaware, Local News, Maryland