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Shoppers Facing Higher Grocery Prices

Reported: Mar. 4, 2014 9:50 AM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Kera Mashek) -- Donald Tate has been in the grocery business a long time.

And right now, he is feeling sticker shock over some of the prices he is paying to get fresh meats into his store.

“Bacon, my goodness we used to sell for 49 cents a pound,” said Donald Tate, owner of Fas Chek. “Today, it's $3 a pound if you can find one that cheap.”

The story's much the same for beef. Prices have been steadily climbing, especially for steaks and roasts. Ground chuck is averaging $4 a pound or higher right now.

But if you think prices of beef are ground beef are high now, then buckle up. The U.S. Department of Agriculture said it could hit all-time highs of $5 a pound this year.

The problem is the historically cold and snowy winter across the country. In the Midwest hog and cattle country, some livestock have died in the elements. Livestock feed is also hard to come by, such as drought-stricken California, where without rain, grain and water to feed animals is scarce. Couple those issues with a growing international demand, and you get higher grocery store prices for meat and dairy products.

“The milk price per gallon just went up, not just to us, but to everyone,” Tate said.


That is thanks to changes in the farm bill. Nationally, a gallon of milk now averages $3.50, and experts said it could climb another 60 cents this spring.

The California drought also means produce prices are climbing.

While it puts a pinch on the family budget, shoppers said they are just trying to grin and bear it.

“It's something you've got to have for your family,” shopper Jason Bennett said. “You'll find a way to provide.”

But the higher grocery prices do seem to be changing behaviors for some shoppers. Tate, the owner of Fas Chek, said more people are now paying close attention to sale ads and using coupons to save money.



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