RICHMOND, Va. — Anyone who’s gone out to eat or shop recently has probably noticed rising food prices, and it’s a trend that may not be stopping anytime soon, experts say.
Longtime East End resident Jeremiah White said he enjoys going to the 25th Market 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 on his visits as his grocery bill continues to soar.
“The prices just got outrageous,” White said. “It seems like every week it goes up and up.”
White explained that the costs forced him to make some adjustments to his budget and made it harder to save money.
“After you pay your mortgage, and you have to have gas money, so when you come to the grocery store, you try to get what you need,” White said. “What little change you have is gone.”
The market’s meat manager, Kelvin Carter, acknowledged the difficulty of many of his customers, but said the store had to pay its distributors more, especially for chicken and beef.
“It’s pretty tough for them,” Carter said. “But we can hardly do anything other than to offer our customers the best possible price.”
Carter explained the market at 25and operates independently without too much overhead, unlike stores like Walmart and Food Lion. This 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 make a profit.
“When products come in that we know are always on the rise, we also choose our favorites that our customers buy the most,” Carter said. “And we try to have them at a lower price and other items to maintain volume and to keep stuff rolling in the store.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts grocery costs could rise by up to 4% through 2022. The poultry and dairy industries face the highest inflation, while prices of fresh vegetables could remain the most stable.
Carter explained that summer is the store’s peak season, so customers might not see relief until fall.
As market people continue to serve the East End during tough financial times, Carter encouraged the community to buy local.
“We are here to stay,” he said. “We are the backbone of the grocery industry.”
White said that ultimately he remains grateful for the market at 25and and called it a “blessing” for the area, which was once considered a food wasteland until the store opened.
“It looks tough, sometimes a tough climb,” White said. “I hope things will change.”