Since the start of this year, inflation has affected nearly everything we buy, from houses, to gas, to building supplies. Now, it's having an impact at the grocery store. Supermarkets are stocking up on inventory and raising prices due to rising food costs. "There is some inflation in food costs, primarily because of an increase in diesel fuel, higher transportation costs, and higher labor costs--both in grocery stores and in manufacturing," says Gary Huddleston, grocery industry consultant for the Texas Retailers Association.
Huddleston tells KTRH the price increases are all over the store. "It's pretty much across the board," he says. "Many of the staples, paper goods, meat, dairy and cheese."
Conversely, he notes produce prices remain low since many stores get their fruits and vegetables from right here in Texas.
The higher prices are not keeping shoppers away, though. New data shows grocery sales nationwide last month were up 0.5% from a year ago and some 15% from two years ago. Huddleston believes shoppers are adapting to higher prices. "They're using electronic or digital coupons more, shifting to store brands, and shopping specials probably more than they have in the past," he says.
Still, supermarkets have come a long way back from the double-whammy of the COVID-19 pandemic and last winter's extended freeze, which led to barren shelves and purchase limits. "I can tell you that today, grocery stores in the state of Texas are well stocked, they just had record sales for the July 4th weekend, and they're ready now to start thinking about back to school," says Huddleston.