Retailers and manufacturers feel the pressure when it comes to the cost to get food on the shelves of grocery stores.
Trying to cut costs anywhere they can and dealing with the shortage of employees, retailers are using more self-checkout lines, decreasing wages by 1.2% from last year, and struggling to keep up with paying existing employees overtime. According to the Consumer Price Index Summary from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the food inflation in grocery stores in 2021 is the “biggest rise in 31 years.”
According to NBC DFW, Gary Huddleston from the Texas Retailers Association stated, “I’ve seen inflation, of course, in my 45 years. I’ve seen supply chain issues and what we call out of stocks, trying to get products on the shelves. I’ve seen some labor issues, but I don’t believe I’ve ever seen it all come together at once, say how it has in the last 6 months.”
The leading cause of food inflation is due to employers paying overtime for the staff they have because of the lack of workers and the cost of fuel. “Not only is it gasoline, it’s the petrochemicals to produce the packaging, the plastic bags, and all those ancillary products that petroleum provides for,” Huddleston stated.
Meat is one of the food items among the list for the highest price increases. Compared to last year, December 2020, meat prices are up by an average of fifteen percent.
Simple staples, as in sugar, “is at an all-time high right now,” according to NBC DFW. Sugar alone has spiked in price, and that ultimately means every single food item with sugar as an ingredient increases the dollar amount.
Huddleston recommends that the people of Texas purchase fresh produce at the grocery store due to the majority of those items being produced in the state, which requires less transportation, which means a lower amount of gas. As of now, he sees no signs of improvement in prices.
On December 10, Jen Psaki spoke at a White House Press Briefing. When asked about food inflation, she replied that the administration refers to the Federal Reserve and what they predict for inflation.
When it comes to gas prices, Psaki stated, “We’re projecting those prices will come down.” She then added, “We’re obviously working to bring the cost of food down.”