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Grocery prices have been going up due to companies being short staffed and unable to find people to transport freight

Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 10:25 AM EDT
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PRESQUE ISLE, Maine (WAGM) -Grocery prices have been going up.  NewsSource 8 reporter Megan Cole has more on how companies being short staffed and not able to find people to transport freight has impacted those prices.

You may have noticed an increase in your weekly grocery bill, especially when it comes to meat.

“We have seen some slight increases in certain areas, nothing major in grocery dairy, but in the perishable meat definitely over the last year we’ve seen an increase again really since the fourth of July with red meats but even pork and chicken as well has increased just not as significantly as the beef pricing,” said Josh Tweedie, owner of Hillside, Mars Hill and Star City IGA.

“So consumer prices have been rising monthly since January of 2021 and currently the annual inflation rate which is called the CPI stands at about 5.3% in August of 2021. So from August 2020 to August 2021 the prices of all goods and services in the economy increased about 5.3%. Overall food prices are 3.7% higher now than last year so when you look at August of 2021 versus August of 2020, food prices are up about 3.7%,” said Jim McConnon, professor of economics for Umaine.

Josh Tweedie, owner of Mars Hill, Hillside, and Stary City IGA says he is being told by his wholesalers that there is a huge supply and demand issue for product.

“There is demand for product. The problem is getting the supply is what we’re being told. A lot of the manufacturers are short staffed or have limited shifts so they’re not producing as much product and with businesses had reopened over the summer or over the last few months restaurants all over the country now there’s demand for product and they just aren’t able to keep up with the demand.

Megan:  This rise in demand has led to some product shortages. One week it could be paper products, the next week that’s fine and it could be canned goods, the next week that’s fine and it could be something in frozen.  There’s really no rhyme or reason.  Some of the issues also have been told that transportation, the availability of getting product to the warehouses and the extra cost now involved because there’s a shortage of trucks to deliver the freight.”

McConnon says a number of people will feel the effects of the rising prices.

“When you talk about increasing food prices whether it’s one month or two months it’s likely to hurt families that are still reeling from this pandemic and when you look at food costs which are relatively high in Maine anyway and you’re looking at increases or spikes, it’s going to affect low wage workers, people on fixed incomes, and those struggling with food insecurity the most because their alternatives are limited.”

McConnon says it’s too early to tell if these increase in prices is here to stay.

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