Grocery prices pack a punch to the pocketbook - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Grocery prices pack a punch to the pocketbook

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Costs of food staples around the house like milk, wheat, fresh produce, meat and corn are up.

Shoppers are paying two point eight percent more for groceries than they did last year. That does not  just hurt the pocketbooks, it is hurting the number of sales the grocery stores make.

One reason for the price increase is the high cost of fuel price, making it more expensive to have the products shipped in.

Second, the natural disasters happening around our nation decrease crops. Growers up the price, which forces grocery stores to do the same.  As a result, consumers are spending more cautiously while grocery chains are compensating by keeping a close eye on their inventories to reduce food waste.

Some shoppers like Adi Stahlin say today's high food prices make paying bills an even bigger struggle. Stahlin says, "I'm trying to cut back everywhere. In fact, just last night I was looking through bills and I just don't know if I'm going to be able to make it this month. I really don't, but I'll do the best I can. I'll just keep cutting back wherever I can."

One way manufacturers are trying to avoid raising the price of their products even higher is to reduce the product sizes. For example, some manufacturers have decreased a package of American cheese from 24 slices to 22.

The average family spends ten percent of their disposable income on food, which means everyone is feeling the pain of these rising food prices.

Grocery stores say shoppers are still buying, but they're finding ways to cut back. They are buying less expensive types of meat or just buying it a day-old because of the reduced prices. Couponing is a huge trend right now. Shoppers tell me taking the time to look through the ads or cut out a coupon is worth every penny.

Shopping smart and not buying all the name brands could mean huge savings. Some shoppers are even making their own bread and growing their own produce. Others are not eating out as often.

Another tip is to just shop the outskirts of the store because all the main necessities are on the perimeter. Weaving through the store could cause distraction to buy more.

Carol Irizarry says, "I do see it affecting my children, you know they're on a fixed income, it's very difficult for them. When I'm with them I treat, but I do notice when I go shopping with my kids, and they're just getting...they're looking for lower prices, they're looking for deals, they're buying on sale."

Copyright 2011 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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