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Food Prices

by Matilda Charles
The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued a food prices report comparing this year to the last year. While they acknow- ledge that prices of food are continuing to rise, they claim that the rate of that increase has slowed. They say that the cost of groceries went up only 4.9 percent from last year.
I’d like to know where, exactly, they do their shopping—because I’ll go there.

We can point the finger of blame in several directions, per the nightly news —the wars, wildfires, droughts, avian flu —but I point that finger in one additional direction: greed.

I have a thick stack of grocery re-ceipts, batched by date, so it’s easy to check the prices that I paid a month ago, six months ago, a year ago, etc. Along with a handy online calculator, I can see that one particular item I commonly buy rose in price from $4.27 to $5.95 just in the past several months. That equates to a 39 percent increase in price. It’s not even a fancy cut of meat—it’s bread.

I have to wonder if the food companies don’t watch the news and de-cide to see just how much we’ll put up with, like the frog in the pan of in-creasingly heated water. How long before we jump out?

By jump out, I mean refuse to buy. Granted, we can’t avoid buying food, but we can refuse to pay for higher priced items. For example, I’m experimenting with a way to cut my grocery bill that is simply this: I buy whatever brand is the cheapest. If I want a can of beans, maybe the store brand is the cheapest, maybe it’s a flavor I haven’t tried before, maybe it’s on sale. Whatever it is, I buy the cheapest.

Eventually the food companies will wise up and realize that we won’t be held hostage by their high prices.