Much to blame for escalated grocery bill

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - By Emily Luxen

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Alabamians are paying more for food and gas as consumer prices rose last month at the fastest pace in nearly two years. Wholesale food prices rose 3.9 percent, the biggest increase since November 1974. The Alabama Farmers Federation's most recent survey of grocery prices show food prices rose about 3 percent around the state.

UAB economist Mickey Gee believes there are multiple factors behind this surge, including increased demand for food, rising fuel costs, and the fact that harsh winter weather throughout much of the country damaged crops. He added that the bad news for consumers is the high prices are sticking around.

"I think this is the start of this period, there is not an end in sight," said Gee, "I think this will certainly pinch consumers.  We've got to feed our families, we've got to put gas in our cars, this becomes a real issue."

Some consumers said they are frustrated by having to pay more for items ranging from coffee to corn, and some are even changing their shopping habits as a result, "I probably travel to two stores in one day," said shopper Ericka Cobb. "I may clip coupons on Saturday and try and maintain that way."

Another shopper, John Graves says, "All you can do is try and budget every time you walk in the grocery store."

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