Brooklyn NY…Something surprising is happening at checkout counters of kosher grocery stores. Not only are customers noticing that some prices have gone up by as much as 20% in just two months, but they are also questioning the reasons for the spike. In general, food prices have jumped by nearly a third over the past year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, even as pandemic-related job losses are making it harder for families to afford basic staples. Corn prices are 67% higher than a year ago, the FAO says, while sugar is up nearly 60%, and prices for cooking oil have doubled. Overall prices have risen for 11 consecutive months to the highest levels since 2014, the FAO says.
Kosher grocers say that their bills have risen significantly. Labor shortages at many factories have resulted in higher prices, including on such items as canned goods and poultry. One store manager said that prices have been inching up for many months, but it seems that “now consumers are now noticing.” The manager said that perhaps prices will come tumbling down just like what just happened with lumber. Most grocery executives are not expecting a decline in prices any time soon as there are so many signs that inflation is on its way back. To mitigate the price spike, some grocers are offering many specials on items that have basically held on as far as prices are concerned.