RICHMOND, Va. — Anyone who’s been out to eat or grocery shopping recently has probably noticed rising food prices, and it’s a trend that may not let up anytime soon according to experts.
Long-time East End resident Jeremiah White said he enjoys going to the Market at 25th to stock up on groceries.
“People say I should live here, I come so much,” he said.
But White may have to start cutting back his visits as his grocery bill continues to skyrocket.
“The prices just got outrageous,” White said. “It looks like every week it goes up and up.”
White explained the costs have forced him to make some adjustments to his budgeting and has made it harder to save money.
“After you pay your mortgage, and you have to have money for gas, then when you come to the grocery store, you try to have what you need to get,” White said. “The little change you do have, it’s gone.”
The market’s meat manager, Kelvin Carter, recognized the struggle for many of his customers, but he said the store has to pay more to its distributors, especially for chicken and beef.
“It’s pretty hard on them,” Carter said. “But there’s pretty much nothing we can do about it than to offer our customers the best price possible.”
Carter explained the Market at 25th operates independently without much overhead, in contrast to stores like Walmart and Food Lion. That means they can control their own margins and carefully select products that won’t break the customer’s back while the store is still able to turn a profit.
“When products come in that we know just keep going up, we also pick our favorites that our customers shop for the most,” Carter said. “And we try to have them at a lower price and other items to keep volume and to keep stuff turning in the store.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture projects costs at the grocery store could increase by up to 4% throughout 2022. The poultry and dairy industries face the highest inflation while fresh vegetable prices may remain the most steady.
Carter explained that summer is the store’s peak season so customers might not see any relief until the fall.
As folks at the market continue serving the East End through financially tough times, Carter encouraged the community to shop local.
“We’re here to stay,” he said. “We are the backbone of the grocery industry.”
White said, at the end of the day, he remains grateful for the Market at 25th and called it a “blessing” to the area, which used to be considered a food desert until the store opened.
“It looks hard, an uphill climb sometimes,” White said. “I’m hoping things just change.”
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