Food prices are rising dramatically. As a result, Tahteana DeRosa, Northeastern’s security officer for the past half year, has adjusted her grocery store selections.
“I had to get smaller portions, as I was buying in bulk,” DeRosa said Thursday after buying some items at Symphony Market on Huntington Street near the Boston campus. I have particularly noted the high prices of meat and vegetables.
Overall, June inflation rose to 9.1% over a year ago according to the Consumer Price Index – the fastest rise in more than 40 years. The cost of groceries has gone up 12.2% over the past year, an increase that can be especially painful for people on low incomes.
Rory Smead, Associate Professor of Philosophy and Ronald L. “For middle-class people who are reasonably comfortable, I might be upset that the grocery bill is higher, but it doesn’t seem to change my behavior drastically. But for someone who works on the sidelines, all of a sudden you have to start making tough decisions about what foods to buy. “.
People of all incomes are increasingly concerned about the price hike still to come. The cost of groceries has overtaken the price of gasoline as the biggest inflation concern among Americans according to a survey published last month, with 90% of respondents feeling alarmed by rising food prices.
“I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” says Brett Miller, owner of Wollaston Market on Huntington Street, who took over from his father a decade ago.
Wollaston’s has been able to keep the prices of its popular sandwiches stable, despite the rising costs of bread and cold cuts. But everything else in the store seems to be on the rise, based on the costs to suppliers.
“When the parents come in during mentoring, I think they notice a little more than the students do,” says Bob Beridna, who has directed Wollaston for 26 years. “I was talking to a gentleman yesterday, he was drawing on campus with someone [university] Contractors, and was making a comment about steak tips that cost $38. He said, ‘I wanted to tip the steak, but I couldn’t pay the $38. “
The economy in general is “still very strong,” says Robert Trieste, a former vice president and economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston who is now president and professor of economics at Northeastern University. The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6%, near its lowest level in half a century, and the creation of 372 thousand jobs in June exceeded expectations.
But Trieste expects the economy to weaken later this year as a result of the Fed’s plan to keep raising interest rates in hopes of halting inflation. Although gas prices in the US have fallen daily over the past month, energy costs remain high. Rents are rising at their fastest rate since 1986, and wages are not keeping pace.
The higher costs of basics may help explain why televisions and other goods are so mediocre.
“People spend more on gasoline and food, and that leaves them less to spend on other things,” Trist says. “So this has the effect of reducing costs in some consumer groups.”
But the question of food prices will be more difficult to solve. Diverse factors include the war in Ukraine, where Russia uses grain as a weapon, according to Stephen Flynn, founding director of the Institute for Global Resilience at Northeastern University, who is concerned about dire consequences around the world.
“Russia and Ukraine produce about a third of the world’s grain that is the basis of the diet of the poorest countries,” Flynn says. “Without bread, or if residents are faced with paying a very high cost for bread, there is civil unrest. The stakes for the Middle East and Africa are incredibly high.
“The Black Sea has always been the delivery channel for those supplies, but it has been mobilized since the start of the war,” Flynn adds. “This makes figuring out how to open the Black Sea to grain shipments the number 1 security issue in our already chaotic times.”
At Wollaston’s, Miller worries that rising food costs will create a new normal.
“A lot of times things don’t turn around,” Miller says of food prices. “You get to a certain point where people get used to pushing it, and that’s what it’s going to be.”
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