Rising fuel costs bite into grocery store budgets
BATON ROUGE - Southside Produce was business as usual Monday morning with shoppers gathering their weekly groceries.
For some customers, the grocery list might be a little shorter due to rising prices.
"It's something you typically don’t budget for in advance, you know? You don’t know how much it’s going to affect you until it happens," shopper Mary Grace Campbell said.
Campbell and her husband just recalculated their budget, and discovered quickly they needed to cut back on certain items. When planning to cook dinner, fresh produce is taking a back seat to carbohydrates, which are cheaper and more filling.
"When I’m cooking throughout the week, I’ve been doing a lot more things with rice and bread instead of fruits and vegetables, and so that’s just a bummer," Campbell said.
Gas prices are trickling down into every aspect of daily life, including the grocery supply chain.
“It really is just the perfect storm of everything right now that’s hurting everyone," Hayden Pizzolato, President of Wholesale at Southside Produce, said.
Pizzolato says the issue starts with farmers, who are now paying more to grow and harvest crops. The outstanding expenses then get transferred to truckers who ship the produce.
According to Pizzolato, freight costs are up 35% to ship produce in from out of state. Some items seeing a huge spike in price are leafy greens, citrus fruits and potatoes.
Buying and shipping locally is cheaper, but Southside Produce runs their own fleet of trucks, meaning they are not exempt from the pain at the pump.
“Diesel prices are killing us there but, the higher they go the scarier it gets," Pizzolato said.
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