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The Rent err…..Groceries are Too Damn High!

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I’ve been noticing over the last few months that supermarket prices are skyrocketing & I suspect some sort of collusion. I know this I a bad time of the year for produce, (the ongoing drought & Chile's season is ending & California is not yet producing much), seafood (North Atlantic waters are just starting to warm) & meat (higher drought related feed costs & smaller herds). All these factors considered there seems to be a move underfoot to get the public to accept higher food prices, just like the oil companies who use every bit of bad news to raise fuel prices. I guess thy figure people have to eat so if competitors don't cave in they can make higher prices stick.The jumps are pretty much across the board too and not proportionate to the valid reasons for increases. I consider myself a savvy shopper & normally plan my shopping trips based on what center of the plate, perishable protein items are on sale in their fliers. I try only to buy non-perishables (dried, canned, frozen, paper, cleaning supplies etc.) on sale and I buy enough to last me until I anticipate them being on sale again. I also try other brands when on sale and compare. For example, I no longer buy Tide Detergent because it’s way over priced and Kirkland (Costco) cleans equally well. Scott, Great Northern, Charmin toilet tissue all are equally soft now, so I buy what’s on special. Ketchup, Hunt’s I find is actually a better grade than Heinz. But some things cannot be replaced like Hellman’s mayo. Anyway, the specials have not been so special lately. All meat prices have shot up particularly pork, chicken prices are higher. Beef prices, we were told to expect the worst last summer, but have not risen appreciably, except for less tender cuts like chuck roast & ground beef. Cheese has also jumped up. I don’t know if it’s the supermarkets themselves or if it’s big agriculture, big meat, grocery buying groups but the fix is in!

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  1. I doubt there is some big conspiracy to raise prices.
    Food is a pretty good value, at least in my eyes. Think of how much more you'd be willing to pay for it.
    Do you shop at big supermarket chains or where are you buying most of your groceries?

    7 Replies
    1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

      Big supermarkets & Costco primarily.Food is a ggod value especially in the USA where we pay a fraction of our income on food compared to most other countries. That being said we spend a lot more of our income on other categories. American needs cheap food to feed the masses many who are struggling to make ends meet.The politicians know this too. I predict you'll be hearing a lot about food prices in the media in the near future.

      1. re: zackly

        "we pay a fraction of our income on food compared to most other countries. "

        I haven't lived abroad but I imagine this would be the case; though I did pass on the troll caught wild salmon at Costco the other day. Smallest package was in the 30's.

        My guess is that cost of medicine & higher education are two of the most expensive things in the U.S.

        1. re: ceekskat

          As opposed to other countries, guess it all comes out in the wash.

          1. re: ceekskat

            Salmon caught by trolls? Under bridges? Do they do a troll dance when they get one?
            Sorry... not familiar with the troll-caught designation yet, couldn't resist sharing the images that come to mind :)

            1. re: julesrules

              They are referring to salmon caught by the traditional fishing method of multiple hooks and lines that are towed(trolled) behind a boat, unlike the more common way of catching large quantities (entire schools) of fish via a towed net.

          2. re: zackly

            Um what? In talking to friends in Europe most grocery items are considerably cheaper there vs. the US. We spend more for many other things like cell phones, internet etc. This is an idea people have been fed, that we pay less here. Maybe we used to but it quit being, or isn't the case.

            The cheap food to feed the masses is BS. The price for pretty much all categories of food has gone way up over the last 5-10 years. There is always an excuse to bump it up or shrink the package size but it never ever goes back down after the excuse goes away.

            The media is always keen to pass on whatever this week's food panic is (drought=high beef, sugar is going to skyrocket). This is not a public service message, it is a way to make people go out and panic buy at a point where the related industry wants to bring in more sales for various reasons.

            What should be going on is an investigation into price fixing by commodity traders, big food processors and the grocery manufacturers industry.

            1. re: blackpointyboots

              Yeah. Univ. CA Berkeley and National Public Radio are SO bad about that, aren't they?

        2. It's not going back down, I'm pretty sure. Food has been really cheap in this country, relative to average income, for an awfully long time; I'm old enough to remember when ground beef was a quarter per pound, and the average lunch-counter hamburger was the same price … but that was when $10K per year was a solidly middle-class income. Our agriculture is taking a hit already from climate change, and that's not gonna get any better either. I read a story a couple of days ago about the efforts being made to breed a more heat-resistant chicken … and as for meat prices in general, I'm expecting those to keep climbing. One day I'll thank Mrs. O for going vegetarian, thus forcing me to learn how to cook that way.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            You're probably right on all your points. Market forces like people refusing to buy may push prices down temporarily but if the producers can't turn a profit they'll have to close up shop.

            1. re: Will Owen

              High feed prices from the ridiculous use of agricultural products to produce ethanol + extreme weather have forced a race to slaughter over the past several years leaving a reduced stock of animals. Attempts to build the numbers back up mean less animals for current beef production. Add the high cost of diesel & you got yourself some pricey beef.

            2. Having lived outside of the US up until 6 months ago (and making a local salary) - the US has it very nice regarding the percentage of one's salary that's spent on food. Very nice. Living abroad, I spent a far higher percentage of my salary on food.

              I'm not trying to talk down to people who get used to budgets working a certain way and then having circumstances change - but the US has had it easy on the cost of food for decades compared to the rest of the world.

              2 Replies
              1. re: cresyd

                It's that people have come to expect prices that are artificially low and now that demand for food is rapidly increasing; prices are adjusting to the proper equilibrium. The unexpected shock factor is going to surprise a lot of consumers I think, as they probably didn't anticipate these increases. I see meat, seafood, and dairy prices increasing substantially for the mass market consumer in the next 5-10 years, with smaller, more non-commodity meats, dairy and seafood, getting a smaller, but definitely not insignificant price increase.
                I will say that at co-ops, farmers markets, and smaller non chain stores, I haven't really seen any decline in my purchasing power. Though I think the prices at those stores are higher (not sure to what degree) than most big chains to begin with.

                I can't say for certain but I bet the groceries you were getting were probably substantially better quality than what you'd find in most American supermarkets, cresyd.

                1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                  I was living in Jerusalem - and I will say that certain indigenous or locally friendly produce was of a higher quality. Regarding "hot house" products - I'd be hard pressed to say that the asparagus found in Jerusalem is/isn't better than what you'd get in the US.

                  However, what I did get very used to was a substantial increase of price in all "convenience" foods (i.e. anything in a can, box, etc.). While some items I'd eventually come to determine, 'no this is worth the convenience price' - it definitely helped me become a more "from scratch" and seasonal cook. When you notice that between x-z months tomatoes cost double - you learn how to use less of them.

                  I understand how easy it is to get on a soap box about these things - so I'm trying to avoid that. But if US prices are on the rise, it may just be more to US food prices reflecting global food prices.

              2. my biggest problem with food prices in the US is they are hard to make sense of - some products are highly subsidized, others are not. Costs vary greatly from store to store and knowing exactly what you are getting requires paying much attention to sources and prices every time you shop.

                I don't mind paying for quality or sometimes compromising quality for a really good price but I hate feeling like I got sold. ie the quite expensive strip steaks at the nicer supermarket near me are terrible and tasteless.

                our local coop is making progress to a brick and mortar store and I really hope this will help remedy this.

                1. I am in the grocery business and there is no collusion. It is bad and it is going to get worse for many of the reasons mentioned in the press. Hang on.....

                  11 Replies
                  1. re: HoosierFoodie

                    But why did they take a quantum leap recently? It was like someone flicked a switch.

                    1. re: zackly

                      Prices have been skyrocketing for at least five or six years, ever since the "recession" ended. Weather is playing a big part, so not a collusion (on mankind's part anyway!). When there is a shortage of something, like grain or beef, the manufacturers can get better money in other parts of the world so they ship it there instead. What little is left for us, they can ask any price.

                      1. re: coll

                        Where do you live where the recession has been over for five or six years?

                        1. re: jpc8015

                          Technically, according to the government. My personal recession is far from over.

                          1. re: coll

                            "according to the government"...that is a big red flag right there.

                            1. re: jpc8015

                              I'm livin' the dream, believe it! When it's all over, I'll write my best selling book ;-)

                      2. re: zackly

                        I don't think they are skyrocketing as much as so many products going up at the same time. Milk has shot up this fast before but not along with beef, pork, limes (oranges and bananas may go up, too) etc... at the same time.

                        1. re: zackly

                          Have you been following fuel prices? Fuel is used to plow the fields, run sprinkler systems and harvest fields and fishes. Everything we eat is delivered by truck. Rising fuel equals rising delivery cost and must be reflected in each item we purchase.

                          1. re: Cam14

                            When we lived in SW Oregon, there was a big billboard on I-5 that said "If you bought it, a truck brought it." Good thing to remember.

                            1. re: Cam14

                              Yes, and petroleum is used in many facets of food production, I know. Fuel has always been a part of the equation but that isn't the only factor right now.

                              1. re: Cam14

                                FUEL: Turn the fields, plant the seeds, irrigate, crop dust, harvest, truck to bulk storage, truck to food processing plants, truck to food distribution centers often requiring reefer cooling, energy to keep cold at distribution centers, truck to retail stores often using reefers & energy to keep many products cold or frozen until purchased & energy to keep the climate in the stores comfortable for shoppers........yeah........I think your on to something with the cost of fuel :-)

                          2. "But some things cannot be replaced like Hellman’s mayo."

                            I disagree. Homemade is far, far superior.

                            57 Replies
                            1. re: LMAshton

                              Care to share a good mayo recipe? @ $3.99 per (30 oz) jar on 'sale', I'm done buying Hellman's.

                              1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                If you have a stick (immersion) blender you can make mayo in a few minutes. There's a million recipes & videos online, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gz0fLT... in a food processor or blender it's easy. But replicating Hellman's that's a different story. After 40 years trying I've given up. Hellmans is the mayo I want in my tuna salad and on my BLT's.

                                1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                  Noticed they had Hellman's at the .99 cent store.

                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                    In California? Grab some, maybe nobody knows what it is ;-)

                                    1. re: coll

                                      If I could of pushed people out of the way, I would of. .
                                      Mayo chica

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        Oh Sure, beat some old blue hairs over the head with your high end purse for that last jar of mayo then, cut to the front of the check out line and run to your limo parked in a handicapped spot. I really enjoy the dollar stores for some great values.

                                        1. re: treb

                                          WTF?!
                                          I do love my high end handbags..who doesn't but NEVER a limo..so garish..not my style!

                                          AND never park it in a handicapped spot!

                                          I'm the one that ball busts people that appear to not be handicapped and yes, I have confronted them and it all hasn't been pretty.

                                          I have learned the hard way that not all people with handicap issues can be seen.
                                          I just tell them I've got their back!

                                          Costco handicapped parking is filled with these F' moron's that abuse the system.

                                          1. re: Beach Chick

                                            OK, how about a red Ferrari! Oh, I'm sure your hand bags are Top-O-The Line!

                                            Just bust'em on you BC!

                                            1. re: treb

                                              Odelay.. ; )

                                              Porsche Chick all the way

                                            2. re: Beach Chick

                                              They do have handicapped tags where you live, no? If so, call the cops.

                                              1. re: coll

                                                On speed dial. .

                                                It has become so prevalent on the abuse of the handicap spots in the So. Cal Costco's, that officers patrol the lots and give out lots of tickets...they are expensive too!

                                                It's mostly the placards that belonged to a family member that has passed/no longer handicapped and some feel entitled to use it...rat bastards.

                                                1. re: Beach Chick

                                                  Rat bastards is right, hopefully karma will get them.

                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                    I've never seen any tickets being given to people who park in handicap parking spaces in privately owned parking lots like Costco here in CT. I've often thought it would be considered bad for business by the owners.I guess it depends on who they are more willing to piss off. I was @ Costco last week & tried to get a handicapped space. I'm recovering from foot surgery & have a temporary HC hang tag. They must have 10 handicap spaces there. They were all taken and @ least 3 cars did not have handicap license plates or rear view mirror hang tags.

                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                      They do give tickets here but the spaces are always filled anyway. Lots of over 55 communities in this area unfortunately. It's Traffic Control and they seem to go into any parking lot they want. Doesn't seem to stop people though. Like it's not hard enough to shop in a wheelchair!

                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                        Ten handicap spaces at a Costco? The one by my house must have a hundred of them!

                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                          Zackly,
                                                          I was at Costo in Milford yesterday and all the handicapped spaces were occupied. I have a handicap parking placard and am currently recovering from surgery and was really annoyed that I saw 4 of these spaces occupied by vehicles without handicap placards or plates. I simply called the Milford Police on my cell phone and 5 minutes later a patrol car arrived and the officer ticketed the four cars.
                                                          This is far different from the response here in Trumbull where I live. Last week my wife attempted to get a handicap space at Starbuck's (she had her aged mother in the car, who has a walker) and both spots were occupied by cars without placards. So Mrs. B sent our 17 year old in to get the coffee. A Trumbull police car pulled up and the officer went in to get coffee. Mrs. B asked him to do something aboyt the illegally parked cars. He refused. Told her on the QT that the local cops don't want to antagaonize Starbuck's and maybe have to start paying for their coffee.

                                                          Many businesses don't provide the required number of handicap spaces. There is a new shoppin strip in town with an oversubscribed gym and not enough parking. Zoning required 12 handicap spaces in order to get a building permit. Now the gym owners have taken away two handicap spaces and put up signs that the spaces are for 'employee remote parking lot shuttle.' I have filed a complaint with both the town zoning enforcement officer and the state disabilities commission, I use the gym to rehab my latest surgey and need the handicap space. Too often businesses put ion the required spaces to get their COs and then take them away and the towns never check for ongoing compliance.

                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                            Two year ago I had foot surgery and had to use an electric shopping cart @ the grocery store. I was shocked @ the lack of consideration I was shown by my fellow shoppers. For me it was a consciousness raising experience having to "walk a mile in a wheelchair bound persons shoes"

                                                        2. re: Beach Chick

                                                          my own mother was given a placard after her double back surgery. I loved to take her shopping with that thing-I'd park then go get her a market motorized scooter. she drove that thing wildly through the market.
                                                          but when she was healed enough the placard was not renewed for the next year. she wanted to just keep it in case, in her glove box. but then you see people who REALLY need those up close parking spots.

                                                          1. re: iL Divo

                                                            Here in Connecticut there are red tenporary (6 month) handicap placards and Blue (LIFETIME) placards. It used to be that you had to requalify for a permanent blue placard every 2 years, BUT our state supreme court ruled more than 10 years ago that forcing a person with disabilities to requalify was discrimination against the disables and blue placards could never expire, until the holder does. Unfortunately, there is no process to cancel placards when the holder dies and many are misused.
                                                            I told our 17 year old that the first time I caught her using mom's, mine or grandma's placard (they are kept in each car) so she can park close at the mall, will be the last time she ever drives one of our cars.

                                                            1. re: bagelman01

                                                              The placards in Florida only last four years... I think after you've had a certain number they'll renew it automatically but I know there was a big fuss over people exploiting them so they put a stricter time limit. I've got one and I just tried to get a permanent disabled number plate and the guy behind the counter told DH we couldn't have one because the car wasn't registered in my name. Seems pretty unfair to me - he's my husband and the one driving me around (I don't have a licence so I don't need a car of my own.)

                                                              I use the scooters in the store most of the time now, and I've never had anyone be inconsiderate. I thought they'd treat me like dirt and avoided them for a full year, but now it's routine. Fortunately my health is doing better and I don't always have to use them. Using the scooter gets you more help from the cashiers... Publix is the best at offering help - one of the reasons I love them even though their prices aren't the best.

                                                              DH tends to forget to put the placard up (which was why I wanted a plate) and he's been questioned a few times... no fines, but he's usually waiting in the car for me so he can dig it out and show them. One time they had a police patrol checking EVERYONE who used the disabled parking at Walmart, and they were checking IDs as well as permits.

                                                              1. re: Kajikit

                                                                My boss (doctor) in Fl only signs the handicapped parking permit applications for 6 months at a time regardless of the patient's handicap, unless they are paraplegic. Most of our patients really don't need one and use it as a convenience. There's a shocking amount of misuse of these permits which is a great shame for those who really need them.

                                                        3. re: coll

                                                          It's more appropriate just to write to the chief of police and and ask for better enforcement. It isn't reasonable to expect police to respond to a complaint of a parking violation. It's hard enough to get them to respond in timely manner to a more serious crime.

                                                          I was going to do this in Alameda, but never got around to it. Since then I have actually seen one scofflaw being cited, so it does happen, although rarely.

                                                          1. re: GH1618

                                                            "It isn't reasonable to expect police to respond to a complaint of a parking violation"

                                                            That's why you pay taxes, and unless your municipality has a separate parking enforcement force (as does NYC) it is the police department's responsibility to respond to complaints of parking violations. That's part of public safety.
                                                            If police don't enforce parking laws then the laws will be ignored and anarchy will rule.

                                                        4. re: Beach Chick

                                                          "I'm the one that ball busts people that appear to not be handicapped and yes, I have confronted them and it all hasn't been pretty."

                                                          No kidding it hasn't been all that pretty.

                                                          I'm another one of those who are handicapped but looks perfectly healthy, btw. If I were in the US, Canada, UK, or some other country that had handicapped status, I would qualify for and get a placard right quick.

                                                          If you think someone's cheating, call the cops. But leave the person alone. You really have no idea what handicapped looks like.

                                                          1. re: LMAshton

                                                            I wouldn't expect it to be pretty. I have said some pretty unkind things to people that have said mean things to me about my disabled parking placard.

                                                            Admittedly, it is a sensitive subject for me, since I'm pretty young and look much younger, and don't 'look' disabled.

                                                            I have actually had a person tell me that it wasn't fair for me to get a placard because I was fat. Yup, I am fluffy. Probably has something to do with the steroids that I'm dependent upon to keep my lungs functioning.

                                                            It is not uncommon to see me speed walking from my car to the entrance of a business. This is because I can only hold my breath for so long, and I need to get inside before the cold/humidity/fumes/person smoking next to the door makes me have a severe asthma attack. Turning blue tends to ruin my grocery shopping.

                                                          2. re: Beach Chick

                                                            So...how do you to determine whether they are "deserving" of their placards? Please tell me you're not demanding that they tell you what type of disability they have. By all means call the police if you want but demanding that random citizens tell you their health status isn't really appropriate.

                                                            1. re: ErnieD

                                                              I found out not so long ago that people with 'service animals' don't have to show any credentials.

                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                True. That's something I used to think should change-at first glance it just seems like requiring it would cut down on fraud. But as time passed, I got to the point where I'd rather someone, somewhere get an illicit chihuahua into the Quizno's than have people who use the dogs to navigate the world independently get stopped and carded everywhere they go. It's already kind a pain I think-there's a patient at my rehab facility who uses a service dog and the number and intrusiveness of the questions she gets asked is astonishing. I once heard someone forty years younger than her ask her a string of questions about what the dog does for her and the details of her injury, and then top it off by asking if she's still able to "enjoy sex".

                                                                1. re: ErnieD

                                                                  Was she?

                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                    Not really. Full loss of sensation below a certain point. She was a lot nicer about sharing that particular detail with a roomful of people than I would have been.

                                                                    1. re: ErnieD

                                                                      Tragic.

                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                        But apparently humorous to a certain subset of the population.

                                                                  2. re: ErnieD

                                                                    I had the same mental 'journey' you did. And if someone has whatever kinds of issues, they shouldn't have to explain it to anyone.

                                                                2. re: ErnieD

                                                                  I'm not advocating confrontation, but sometimes it is easy to tell. Such as when someone fakes a limp from her car to the supermarket entrance, then miraculously loses her limp inside. I had a legitimate need for disabled parking for a few months, but had difficulty finding vacant spaces. In that time, I never saw one person who appeared to need it more than I did. A lot of those people using the spaces were scofflaws. I even knew one person who used the placard of a deceased person.

                                                                  1. re: GH1618

                                                                    I'm pretty sure you can buy them online...at least last I heard.

                                                                    1. re: GH1618

                                                                      Not so much. I have a cousin with a disability that's not always immediately noticeable. She also has chronic pain that worsens with cold weather so occasionally she'll limp a little outside but not when she gets in to the heat. People who use placards that don't apply to them are jerks and I hope they all step on Legos, but it's not the business of random strangers to stop people and demand their health history.

                                                                      1. re: ErnieD

                                                                        I didn't write that it was "so much," I wrote "sometimes."

                                                                      2. re: GH1618

                                                                        Nope. Not remotely close.

                                                                        My joints dislocate randmonly. I get pinched nerves randomly. I have neuropathy. I can limp for ten steps then walk normally for ten then have a different kind of limp from a different dislocation.

                                                                        So, no. Really really no. Not. At. All.

                                                                        And there are plenty of other reasons to need handicapped parking aside from joint pain. Like sudden onset low blood pressure that can result in passing out if a person walks too far or too much. That's also me sometimes. A friend of mine has had several heart surgeries. She looks perfectly fine, walks perfectly fine, but for a year or so after surgery needs to severely limit how far she can walk.

                                                                        Oh, I could go on. But the bottom line is that NO, you actually cannot tell by looking at someone whether or not they're disabled or to what degree.

                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                          I'm something of an expert on neuropathy myself, and can easily tell when someone is faking dependence on a cane. Tommy Lee Jones did a bad job of faking it in "Lincoln."

                                                                          But I do agree with you that one cannot, in general, diagnose someone by looking at them and should not go around confronting presumed scofflaws.

                                                                      3. re: ErnieD

                                                                        Of course not..
                                                                        I'm the biggest champion of the disabled.
                                                                        When I had a broken foot, parking with my temp placard in handicap spots at Costco was impossible since the majority of the spots were being taken by people who abuse the system.

                                                                        Called CEO, Jim Senegal at the time and they had no idea of the abuse and worked with police to crack down on the loser offenders with pricey tickets and did print and media coverage on shaming the offenders.

                                                                      4. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        Some people have valid placards for illnesses that are not visually apparent. For example, someone undergoing cancer treatment may look perfectly abled, yet be in need of handicapped parking.

                                                                        1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                          The problem is not those people, however, but the scofflaws.

                                                                          1. re: nofunlatte

                                                                            Your absolutely correct and they need to have "their" handicapped ID with them which will have the placard number on it along with an expiration date.

                                                                          2. re: Beach Chick

                                                                            Or use Grandma's placard when Grandma is home watching TV.

                                                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                              I take a picture of their license plate and call the police on them.

                                                                              1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                I do carry a few copies of a letter that I could leave on their windshield, directing them to either Motor Vehicle for plates, or town hall for a placard. Very polite but to the point. I've never had the nerve to actually put it on anyone's windshield though, I can just imagine the run-in if they caught me doing it!

                                                                                Just yesterday, at one of our biggest shopping malls, a 78 year old woman was standing in a handicapped spot, holding it for someone, and an 84 year old man argued with her and then ran her over. She is in the hospital now, in serious condition. So you see why I hestitate to engage, people do get nutty about silly things.

                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                  People are crazy. A parking spot is not worth losing your life over! I live in an area with a high senior population and there are always people driving through storefronts or involved in accidents.

                                                                                  I love that you have a preprinted letter at the ready. I should do this. Last letter I left under a cheater's windshield wipers I had to write out, on the spot, on a paper towel from my trunk.

                                                                                  1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                    I figured, if you type it up, and include DMV's address etc, it looks much more official. Now I just have to get the nerve to leave them! I have a little pile in the glove box, ready to go.

                                                                                    1. re: coll

                                                                                      Haha. I love this!

                                                                      5. re: Beach Chick

                                                                        bought one BC but it was Balsamic flavored Mayo.

                                                                        1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                          Isn't Hellman's just the East Coast label for Best Foods?

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            There are those who swear that there are subtle differences, but having lived in a city in the Rockies, where some stores sell Hellmanns and some Best Foods depending on where their distro center is, I have had jars of both in my fridge at the same time. And they are basically identical.

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              Yes. However, dollar stores et al get their goods from all over. Mostly over stocked merchandise.

                                                                          2. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                            Where I am, $3.99 for 30 oz jar is a super bargain. More typical pricing is $4.99 for 20- or so oz.

                                                                            1. re: KarenDW

                                                                              Dollar Stores carry Hellman's 30 oz jars for..... guess, a buck!

                                                                            2. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                              Keep your eyes open. Where I live, Hellman's is usually on sale some place for $2.99 and there's a $1.00 off coupon in the Sunday paper. Yes, I know, it used to cost 39 cents, but we used to have a 10-inch TV screen and no central AC. Our kids were eating Gerber's and now they have jobs. Time marcheth on.

                                                                              1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                How many eggs do you think it takes to make that jar? Eggs 2.49+ a dozen plus oil is going to be close to the same cost.

                                                                            3. I haven't noticed a difference, but I don't shop at regular grocery stores very much. The prices for produce and other foods at my Asian, Mexican market, and farmers market are consistent. I buy small amounts of higher end meat and imported cheese and have not noticed a difference there.
                                                                              I am not brand loyal for household products for the most part. I shop at stores like big lots for good prices on some things -and buy in bulk when I find a good deal. I have a local restaurant supply store that often has great deals on paper products, again, no change in price there ...yet.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                                                We started shopping at a local Asian market last year. After getting to know their stock and what some things are, I love that store. Produce is usually cheaper and they have things I can't get at the supermarket if I need something obscure. Rice pasta at the Asian market is $1.59 for a huge bag. Rice pasta at the supermarket is $4-8 for a tiny bag. Canned goods like bamboo shoots, coconut milk etc. are usually half the cost of the supermarket for the same brand. Condiments (rice vinegar, hot sauce, fish sauce etc) are usually 25-50% less for the same brand. I don't see price fluctuations at all at the Asian market we frequent.

                                                                              2. Chalk it up to inflation. It won't be echoed in government statistics because food and gas are not included in the rate of inflation which, in my mind, is ludicrous.

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: justalex

                                                                                  “It won't be echoed in government statistics because food and gas are not included in the rate of inflation which, in my mind, is ludicrous.”

                                                                                  That’s simply not true. Core CPI does not include food and energy prices because those commodities are deemed too volatile and are subject to price variations that cannot be managed through monetary policy. Hence, it’s the number generally used by analysts.

                                                                                  True CPI includes both food and energy prices and is what is used for most legislated inflation adjustments.

                                                                                  For general discussion: http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpiqa.htm

                                                                                2. I was at Costco yesterday for seafood and cheeses...yikes!
                                                                                  Salmon prices are up $5+ per package and the Parm Reggiano was $3-5 more per block.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                                    Reggiano has been off the hook expensive - all imported cheese has I have been assuming it is an exchange rate thing. I always bought the best quality parmesan I could with the belied that a little of the good stuff goes a long way but the prices have been giving me pause lately.

                                                                                  2. Are groceries, (and other stuff) really going up.....or is it that the dollar is becoming worth less, and less, and less....So it takes more of them to purchase goods and services. With the gubment spending like drunken sailors, and, printing money by the train loads, it will only get worse. Hold on to your butt! It's gonna get worse.

                                                                                    5 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Uncle Bob

                                                                                      Ahhh the Gubberment and its printing press.......kind of makes asses out of those of us who didn't live for the day and saved only to see our savings lose purchasing power faster than we can replenish with additional savings.

                                                                                      Won't be able to afford paper to wipe ones butt when the dollar is replaced as the World's reserve currency.

                                                                                      1. re: Tom34

                                                                                        We left our retirement savings alone and we've more than come back. I'm sorry your experience hasn't been the same.

                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                          I am fine with the market swings. I am a firm believer in buying when there is "blood on the street" , not selling. Have done extremely well in that regard.

                                                                                          My problem is the long term falling value of the dollar. The only savings grace is there is nothing at the moment to replace it as the WRC but there is serious discussion among many world leaders of eventually doing so.

                                                                                          The value of the dollar has a strong influence on the price of commodities which is reflected at the supermarket cash register.

                                                                                          1. re: Tom34

                                                                                            Not going to happen, the US dollar is the standard for all currencies.

                                                                                            1. re: treb

                                                                                              British Pound was not that awful long ago.

                                                                                    2. It is less about overall rising prices then wages remaining pretty stagnant over the past thirty years - inflation now is barely 1% as measured by the Fed.

                                                                                      http://www.dallasfed.org/research/pce...

                                                                                      http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/S...

                                                                                      1. I try to get at least proteins and dairy at the farmer's market for lots of reasons and I have noticed that over the past 2-3 years, the prices on ice cream for example, have gone up so fast in the supermarket that it's actually cheaper to buy them at the farmer's market. How much do people expect to pay for high end supermarket ice cream like B and J? I swear I saw it for over $6/pint here in NYC and that seems very high to me.

                                                                                        As far as homemade mayo goes, yes it's easy to make and REALLY cost efficient.

                                                                                        JeremyEG
                                                                                        HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                        38 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                          I don't know about the rest of the country but around here (wealthy Fairfield CT & Westchester NY counties) farmers' market prices are generally off the hook high. They make whole Foods look like Walmart. Is that true all over?

                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                            I agree, at least in my area, farmers markets are for the rich.

                                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                                              Depends on the product. The actual veggies from small farms (as opposed to Earthbound Organics for example) are actually more expensive at Whole Foods here. I get less expensive seafood at the farmer's market than I do at fish markets outside of chinatown. The mass produced supermarket food is almost always less expensive than the farmer's market except for a few products like the ice cream I mentioned where even with the ability to manufacture and distribute in huge quantities, the supermarket prices are even higher than the farmer's market prices. I was surprised to see that.
                                                                                              JeremyEG
                                                                                              HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                              1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                Where do you live?

                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                  I live in NYC and the market prices are different in Manhattan than they are in the outer boroughs. As I said, there are very few products that are less expensive at the farmers market than they are at the supermarket. At the market yesterday, the scallops, mackerel, clams and ice cream (weird combination) and fiddlehead ferns were much less expensive than they are at Whole Foods but again, Whole Foods has a pretty hefty mark-up here and I never consider it a good value. I'm pretty sure that's the case everywhere but I'm not sure.

                                                                                                  I did cooking demos at one of the markets here and never had a problem keeping the cost of the dish under $5 or so, sometimes more for a nicer meal. They also have made some efforts here to make market shopping more accessible to low-income New Yorkers and indeed at many of the markets, EBT cards are accepted and I've almost never seen a transaction take place without the farmer throwing in a hefty amount of free food. It's not perfect and in no way is it less expensive to shop at the market than a large supermarket, but they are making some efforts to make it more affordable and accessible to people who want to try to eat local food on a limited budget.
                                                                                                  JeremyEG
                                                                                                  HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                  1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                    This is definitely true. Farmer's markets in NYC, even those in the outer boroughs, tend to be much more expensive than just buying what you want in a grocery store. The price differential is actually even sillier in the outer boroughs, because we do have some fairly reasonably priced grocery chains, whereas in Manhattan, everything is expensive. There's a small farmer's market a few blocks from me and the prices on produce are at least double what I pay at the Asian produce market up the street, and the quality doesn't seem to be any better.

                                                                                                    1. re: biondanonima

                                                                                                      I too shop in Queens (one of the outer boroughs) have found the same experience at the Sunday morning farmers market off of northern blvd. and 79th street....buyer beware..
                                                                                                      Food Bazar in LIC is a good alternative.

                                                                                                2. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                  We moved overseas from Baltimore seven years ago and before that I was going to a local farmer's market every weekend for years. I could buy all the weekly fruits and vegetables for a family of four for mere pennies. And they were very good quality produce sourced from local farms in the Maryland/Pennsylvania area.

                                                                                                  Because we still have family in Baltimore we return every summer for a month or so and I go to the market with my mother. Last summer it blew me away how much more expensive they've become. The market prices are now just about comparable with Whole Foods or other upscale gourmet supermarkets in the area, whereas before we left Baltimore they were substantially cheaper.

                                                                                                  I still love the markets and still plan on frequenting them when I go back to Baltimore this summer, but they are certainly not the bargain they once were.

                                                                                                  1. re: Roland Parker

                                                                                                    Shouldn't locally grown produce (not talking organic here) be comparably priced to supermarket (Big AgriBusiness) produce? There is really no middleman and transportation & refrigerated storage costs should be less.Plus they are 'in season" when produce should be its best and cheapest. I think they market to the swells and young people that are sympatheric to the silly locavore movement.

                                                                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                                                                      Hey Zackly,
                                                                                                      People have pretty extensively written about and broken down why food costs are so low here and it has quite a bit to do with subsidies and the very low cost of labor in mass production. (Some are written by people who believe the current system of food production is a triumph for all involved and others who think it's going to collapse soon until it's less dependent on fuel).There are few if any small farm operations that can bring their per/unit production costs down to the level of a large scale operation. I avoid farmers that I think overcharge but I think you'd be hard pressed to find one that doesn't put far more of their of their own resources into producing a pound of tomatoes than Del Monte does.
                                                                                                      JeremyEG
                                                                                                      HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                      1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                        I have no problem paying the same or a bit more for produce at a farmers market than I do at Safeway. When I buy at the farmers market I know that the dollar I spend will go right back into my community. When I buy at Safeway, the dollar I spend is split up among an entire network of executives, marketing teams, distribution centers, and farmers on other continents.

                                                                                                        I do have a hard time paying a lot more at the farmers market though. I do have to watch after my own bottom line too.

                                                                                                      2. re: zackly

                                                                                                        NO....
                                                                                                        locally grown produce should be much more expensive than product of Big Agribusiness. Local farmers do NOT benefit from economies of scale.

                                                                                                        Your local truck farmer with 40 acres of native tomatoes, beans and corn can't hope to compete with a 10,000 acre farm with it's own trucking fleet, silos, railroad siding, packing plant, etc.

                                                                                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                          So, I guess that's why I avoid them.I always get sticker shock there!

                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                            but you get what you pay for most of the time - its not really apples to apples between the big supermarket and the farmers market in terms of freshness, quality etc. I would pay 3x as much for a fresh juicy ripe peach than a mealy peach shaped object which happens all too often at the conventional grocery when prices are good (not a universal truth but common enough)

                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                              I buy local when local is in season in and in my supermarkets. Peaches, you are 100% correct. They don't do well when picked unripe & refrigerated so I wait for NJ peaches. Corn,t he supper sweet varieties I am seeing now start in FL and work their way northward as the Spring progresses. I think Stew Leonards, who sells a lot of corn, has corn from GA now. In the late summer when local corn is around, it's better to be sure. Now tomatoes usually are terrible unless in season but I'm enjoying the greenhouse grown Campari tomatoes that taste like vine ripened.

                                                                                                        2. re: zackly

                                                                                                          Actually, swing by during peak zucchini season. The farmers often have more than they can sell and they have literally given it away to avoid taking it back to the farm in the evening! The same thing happened to me with apples last week. Supermarket usually won't do that!
                                                                                                          JeremyEG
                                                                                                          HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                            Economies of scale are a big factor.

                                                                                                      3. re: zackly

                                                                                                        Westchester county FM prices and high end market prices are insane - I think people there feel special because they pay too much or something - its all specialty shopping fancy dog cookies and the like at the "my village is special and needs its very own cutsie market" - they are set up for boutique shoppers more than feeding a family - - so few actual small farms left - Ramseys' in Scarsdale is a gem though I am amazed its still around -

                                                                                                        I think Philly area is better and cheaper for this but I may be wearing rose colored glasses.

                                                                                                        1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                          My experiences is primarily based on visits to the farmers' markets in Greenwich & New Cannan CT. I think the vendors know their audience & take advantage of their deep pockets. I'l love to find a FM that caters to the proletariat. Anyone know of one around here, Norwalk, CT? I'd be pleased to support them and be quite willing to pay 20-25% more than supermarkets but not the 100+% more I typically see.

                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                            my references are Scarsdale/Bronxville same deal
                                                                                                            I think some of it is taking advantage but some of the high prices are opportunity cost - the volume is not that high and purchase quantities tend to be small - so you have to make as much off each sale as possible as a vendor to make it worth it to set up. Prices would be better if the markets were more regional than town by town perhaps

                                                                                                            I am not sure the current farmer's market model works as a real food sourcing option for the budget conscious. Cooperative buying direct from farm or through a vendor is one answer but not an easy one - we have, here in Philly, been able to get some very good values thorough our coop buying wholesale for things that are much more expensive at the farmers market or specialty shops - its a lot of work though

                                                                                                            1. re: JTPhilly

                                                                                                              And that's the real but not very glamourous solution to many of the problems with local/sustainable food. The distribution system needs to be changed drastically. Until it is, the farmers market vendors are stuck with a lower profit margin than the supermarkets, even when they charge higher prices. Their transportation and production costs are outrageous. We took a friend's CSA box and the value was much much better than it would have been had we bought the ingredients at the market from the same vendor.
                                                                                                              JeremyEG
                                                                                                              HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                              1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                agreed - it seems the cooperative model is mostly used in boutique applications and CSA's are limiting and intimidating both have a certain elitism in perception. . While local wont feed the masses in larger cities having a connection to what is grown in your region is a great thing. Living in the Mid-Atlantic we have great dairy, produce and pastured meats in addition to bounty from the sea - appreciation of this should not be an affectation of the urban intelligista it should be part of life.

                                                                                                                Reworking distribution networks needs to happen in concert with education - the market will follow consumer choice but will always take advantage of the uneducated consumer. As long as people keep believing the junk on the shelves is OK and buying it the producers will keep making it and the govt will keep subsidizing them.

                                                                                                                There needs to be a balance in food production/consumption that focuses on economic and environmental sustainability locally and globally

                                                                                                        2. re: zackly

                                                                                                          The farmers' market prices here are also outrageous. Produce is OK, meat is an entirely different story.

                                                                                                          1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                            I'd love an Asian produce & seafood market near me. one with huge turnover that almost guarantees freshness. I've seen some spectacular ones in big cities. We used to have a Korean produce guy that was very good close but wasn't supported by the locals.

                                                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                                                              There's an Asian market nearby but requires a 20 mile drive so not the most convenient for weekly shopping. Even more frustrating here is that for the most part the farmers at the market are not selling organic produce. I understand that many cannot afford to pay for certification but just knowing their farming practices there's not much sold that would be organic. Also, I find it comical that I can't buy pastured eggs at the market and have to stop by Whole Foods on the way home to buy them.

                                                                                                              1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                That's awful that you can't get pastured eggs at the market. What neighborhood do you live in? I'm surprised no one has them!
                                                                                                                JeremyEG
                                                                                                                HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                                1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                  J, where do you live? True "pastured eggs," (or rather eggs from pastured hens) not free range, cage free, are definitely not available in any of my regular grocery stores. I can and do get them at WF and our local food co-op.

                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                    And many many of the greenmarket farmers have them but I actually have more trouble finding them at Whole Foods.
                                                                                                                    JeremyEG
                                                                                                                    HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                                  2. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                    The only place I've seen them is Whole Foods. The farm has delivery drop off locations in other parts of the city but Whole Foods is the only actual store. I was devastated for about 6 months when they were unavailable at Whole Foods. I emailed the owner of the farm and learned that the new hens were having issues laying eggs. I checked Whole Foods every other day and finally they are back!

                                                                                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                      That happened to my source also. A 'critter' with a disease got in with their hens and they lost their whole flock. I can get local non-GMO but not pastured.

                                                                                                            2. re: zackly

                                                                                                              Depends on the market, too. I always skip the nearest farmers market to me (Union Square, Allston MA) in part because it both sucks and blows, but mostly because it's not that much further a walk to a far superior farmer's market in Coolidge Corner, Brookline. There, the presence of several competing farms keeps prices literally dirt-cheap. At the height of the season, I walk out with two or three bulging bags for about $20.

                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                It's true in Chicago. Not unusual here for blueberries to be $6 pint at my local farmers' market and on sale for $1.99 or even 99 cents at a supermarket one block away.

                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                  Luckily not here. In the midwest in a small metro area so we have 4 farmers markets on different days/locations in town. Since there isn't one market for the wealthy parts of town the markets serve everyone. So they are a combination of everyone. That may help keep prices sane.

                                                                                                                  1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                    As a happy escapee from Fairfield county I have to say the farmer's markets even up here are painfully expensive, it's style over substance (and taste) which is too bad

                                                                                                                    I would rather not pay $5 for a tomato no matter how "heirloom" it is.

                                                                                                                    1. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                      If you're ever in the Paterson nj area,on railroad avenue [off crooks] they have like a 4 block both sides farmers mkt,there every day,prices are pretty good,though I haven't been there in so long,usually go to a local farm,pay just alittle more...

                                                                                                                      1. re: cantbeatgoodfood

                                                                                                                        thanks but I don't know if I will ever get there :(

                                                                                                                        sounds better than the inflated prices at the "farmer's market" here and they don't even claim to be organic

                                                                                                                        I haven't bother to taste the produce but a lettuce is a lettuce is a lettuce :) after all

                                                                                                                      2. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                        $5.00 for a tomato........that sucker better do something obscene for 5 bucks :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: madeliner

                                                                                                                          That sounds very expensive! You shouldn't find local vegetables with less taste than the supermarket varieties that have been shipped thousands of miles. If that's what you're seeing, by all means, mention it to the farmer! I'd be annoyed too and probably wouldn't think of spending that much.

                                                                                                                          At the same time, it's really too bad that local farmers are generally not entitled to the subsidies that the agribusiness farmers are and often make far less per item than the bigger players.

                                                                                                                          Again though, if the veggies at your supermarket are better tasting than those from your market, you either have a horrible farmers market on your hand or the best supermarket in the world.
                                                                                                                          Happy eating!
                                                                                                                          JeremyEG
                                                                                                                          HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                                    2. Yes, prices are up, but the food industry has become as savvy as used car salesmen at getting you into the store to sell you the highest margin items. But as with anything, you need to be an informed shopper.

                                                                                                                      We all know the old tricks of putting specials on the end caps where the store makes more money in rebates for selling volume, and to keep you moving through the store. Everyone needs mayonnaise, so if it's $2 or $4, they can put it on the bottom of the shelf, and people will still buy it, leaving more room for eye-level items. Breakfast cereal? Gosh, the same box of store brand corn flakes changes price every week. Every week!

                                                                                                                      Safeway has been at the forefront of the 'getting you into the store more often' movement with Club Card deals. Every Wednesday I get personalized offers in e-mail, some good, some not worth it. (Bacon for $6.99/lb as a special? HA!) Then when I've already done my shopping, I get more offers, including free items, to tempt me back into the store again before the next ad appears.

                                                                                                                      But if you have a freezer, you can partially beat them at their own game. The first week of every month our Safeway puts a $10 off a $50 purchase coupon in the paper. Last week in the same paper Safeway also had a coupon for their extra meaty baby back ribs for $2.49/lb. that never appeared on the Club Card. They also had 80/20 ground beef for $1.99/lb., an almost unheard of price these days.

                                                                                                                      I bought two of the papers with the coupons in it so I could buy $50 of ribs on one trip (bringing the net price down to $2 per pound for six racks). Then when their computer saw that I had shopped and shot me an e-mail with more freebies, I went back to buy ground beef to stock the freezer with meatballs and a meatloaf, plus buying up other specials to use the other $10 off coupon.

                                                                                                                      The most surprising trend I've seen lately is for supermarkets to put items in their sales circular at regular price! Wait a minute, those are supposed to be for sale items. Know the products, know the prices, and you can often partially beat these used car salesmen at their own game.

                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                        My experiences have been similar. The new trend is making you buy several units to get the cheaper prices. I guess that's the Costco effect. Also, what you mentioned about items being put on "sale" @ their regular price. Also every week in their flyer (Shoprite-CT) there is a page "Club Savings".that I've yet to find any great deals.I wish my store would start to be more interactive like yours is and send me email offers to lure me back in or do the straight "Ten dollars off 100" coupons. I realize that supermarket's bottom lines are minuscule ( I read somewhere only about 3% net profit) so they do have to have a marketing strategy. .

                                                                                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                          That's an interesting point of view, the Costco effect. There's also another opposite effect working where manufacturers are reducing sizes before instituting price hikes.

                                                                                                                          30 oz. quarts of mayo? 20 lb. bags of charcoal briquets reduced to 18 lbs. Chilled juices going down from 64 oz. to 59 oz. C&H sugar was in 5 lb. bags for 100 years, now it's in 4 lb. bags. When was the last time anyone saw a real half-gallon of ice cream? 4 or 5 years ago, maybe?

                                                                                                                          I'm just waiting for the day when a carton of a dozen eggs will only contain 10.

                                                                                                                          1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                            LOL, I was going to mention the half gallon of ice cream thing until I read further. What are they 48 oz now? And they pump so much air into it the weight is way down too.

                                                                                                                            1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                              Take a look at Trader Joe's French Vanilla. a) It is still a whole half-gallon. b) It's very good.

                                                                                                                            2. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                              The shrink ray has become a shopping joke. It is worse in processed foods. Some of them make recipes impossible if the recipe needs a can of something in a set number of ounces and the traditional size has now been changed. This is more motivation to buy basic ingredients and make things from scratch, the shrink ray happens less with basic ingredients.

                                                                                                                              1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                                Not really, I'm seeing flour and sugar going from 5 lb bags to 4 lb. That's pretty major in my book.

                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                  I bought a bag of sugar a few days ago. Seemed an odd shape. Was a 4 pound bag. Nothing is sacred...

                                                                                                                              2. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                Some people probably prefer a smaller package to a price increase in some cases. For example, I recently bought a 5 lb bag of flour. Price was not really an issue, because flour is cheap, but I don't need five lbs. It's probably a lifetime supply given my age. I'd rather have four or even three.

                                                                                                                                As for ice cream, it is mainly one leading brand which reduced the size of its container. That was an improvement, because it was too expensive as a half-gallon. Also, it fits into freezers more easily. Most important, too much ice cream is not healthy. Eating less is better.

                                                                                                                                Eggs: My European refrigerator has ten holders for eggs. A package of ten would work for me, although the traditional twelve is good and what I prefer.

                                                                                                                                The whole size controversy is a non-issue as far as I am concerned. Food companies may use any package size they please.

                                                                                                                            3. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                              Our chain supermarket (Hyvee) plays all these games. Some states don't allow the buy "x" amount in order to get the price so you can buy one at the per unit discounted price. Hyvee has a really sleezy one that seems to catch plenty of people. The meat counter sells most of the meat items per piece but doesn't tell you the weight or if they do it is in tiny print. So a single small very low quality steak is something like $15-$25 a pound. Per unit the price seems like a bargain at $6. We also have constant problems with expired food at this chain and produce that goes bad a day after you get it home. There seems to be lots of used car salesman games going on.

                                                                                                                            4. You've all read about the pig virus that's wiping out tens of thousands:

                                                                                                                              http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04...

                                                                                                                              Watch the news and see that due to drought wheat is less than half as tall as it ought to be by now. Farmers are holding off planting corn cause without rain it's throwing good money after bad. It goes on and on and as someone said you better get used to it. Oh, right, there's no global warming :(

                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                I was going to mention that but OP did mention issues with drought as related to meat prices.

                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                  But it's just about everything we eat, isn't it? Rice is another one that comes to mind. And there's some little insect that's decimating Florida's orange crop. We were in Israel recently where they are doing water desalination. It costs a bloody fortune but we really can't do without water. Sigh.

                                                                                                                              2. High prices -- yet another reason to avoid meat. Not that we needed another one.

                                                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: thymeoz

                                                                                                                                  Pray do tell all of your reasons for avoiding meat.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: thymeoz

                                                                                                                                    Or just about any other food.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: thymeoz

                                                                                                                                      Being a vegetarian isn't just about "not eating meat" though. Not for me and my family.

                                                                                                                                      A diet high in (often organic) produce and non-processed foods can be $$$ depending on one's preferences.

                                                                                                                                      I often think it would be less expensive if we filled our bellies with $1 McDonald's hamburgers and those jumbo-packs of chicken wings/thighs.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                        And this is why there are such high levels of obesity in populations with lower incomes. Cheaper to eat low nutrient fast foods, than to cook with fresh foods, in some cases.

                                                                                                                                    2. One thing I notice: you might want to rethink "center of the plate".

                                                                                                                                      I know in the Western style of eating that place is often reserved for a big hunk of meat or fowl or fish.

                                                                                                                                      You may need to expand your cooking repertoire to include casseroles, stews and tangines. If you can add more dried grains and beans, and in-season veggies, you'll find your pocket-book fuller....and your jeans looser.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: pedalfaster

                                                                                                                                        Do you mean focus on making ingredients other than meat, the focus of the dish? You must be a Communist and these colors don't run. :)

                                                                                                                                        I'm kidding of course but at least here in NYC, David Chang is credited with moving the focus of many entrees away from large portions of protein. I'm always surprised at how infrequently that solution comes up when people talk about food prices. Would I prefer to eat is spicy sausage dish with fried rice cakes over a porterhouse? Any day of the week and you're right, that food can be made at home very cheaply whether you shop at farmers market, supermarket, whole foods, or grow it yourself.
                                                                                                                                        JeremyEG
                                                                                                                                        HomeCookLocavore.com

                                                                                                                                        1. re: JeremyEG

                                                                                                                                          This has actually been one of the tactics to get our food costs down and improve what we are eating. I cut how much meat we eat and do at least a few nights a week where meat is an ingredient in something Asian or Indian but the bulk of the meal is veggies and one carb source.

                                                                                                                                      2. In North America, we have become accustomed to paying very little for food, relative to the cost of production. My view of recent increases in retail price are as a "market correction" related to the actual costs of food production. Farmers and distributors need to make a living too.

                                                                                                                                        1. Food prices have been rising in recent years, but the longer-term trend has been down:

                                                                                                                                          http://www.worldwatch.org/global-food...

                                                                                                                                          Market forces are the reason, not collusion. Food production and distribution are too large and diverse to be manipulated in that way.

                                                                                                                                          1. On a trip to Safeway today, I bought $16.84 of groceries. By pointing out scanning errors, I was refunded $6.54. Yup, you read that right, $6.54 on $16.84.

                                                                                                                                            The biggest errors were being charged not only the wrong price for eggs, but for three cartons instead of two, then being charged $1.99 for a 2-liter of ginger ale where the shelf tag listed 79¢, while the computer was programmed to only give the sale price if you bought 4.

                                                                                                                                            Moral: Gotta read those receipts!

                                                                                                                                            7 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                              When my Safeway has that kind of promo on soft drinks you don't get the sale price if you only buy one. Never.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                I agree, they were nice to refund the soda but shouldn't have.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                  You have to be sharp...or as my mom says a pain in the ass loudmouth...as such I take the middle road...logic , reason and then fact....I got three dollars on Wednesday, because the cashier refunded me for three cases of water, when she charged for three and I only bought one case of water...the moral of the story...if the cashier said she maid a mistake the management would dock her 5 bucks...If I am a disgruntled customer, she could give me a three dollar coupon with no charge to her...so she gave me two coupons, even though she made a mistake for $1.20...she refused to admit she made an error...TFB...I guess I won over an 18 year year old neophyte who thought she was out smarting the system...I then went to the manager of the store, who said she would be terminated. I then wrote a letter to corporate, who responded that the manager never terminated the employee.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                    The lady at customer service initially refused to adjust the price, so I just had her refund it. I saw the store's assistant mgr. and grabbed him and took him back to the end cap where the display was where I got the bottle.

                                                                                                                                                    He clearly saw the sign which said "Canada Dry Ginger Ale 79¢". The price was good through Sunday, and had no minimum purchase requirement. He said, "yup, you're right," grabbed another bottle off the shelf and rang it up for free. (He also pulled the tag to figure out what was going on and correct it if it was wrong.)

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                      Ok that's different :) if there's no minimum, nice work. I always check the receipt before I leave the parking lot if not in the store.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                        With some detective work, I figured out what happened.

                                                                                                                                                        There's a special this week on 7-UP and Coke products where you do have to buy 4 to get the sale price. But, there's also a promotion on the new 10-calorie Canada Dry line which has no minimum purchase requirement.

                                                                                                                                                        The shelf tag was printed incorrectly and left off that the promo was for the new Ten product, so the end cap was stocked with the regular product.

                                                                                                                                                        I will say this, the Safeway I shop at now does a much better job of standing behind scanning errors than other Safeways. The one I used to shop at used to give every excuse in the world to avoid making good on errors, including telling me once that the guarantee was only valid if you discovered the error once you got home, then drove back to point out the mistake!

                                                                                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                    Just to follow-up on this, I'm not sure where your Safeway is, but mine this week for Portland, OR has:

                                                                                                                                                    1) 2-liter Dr Pepper or 7-UP 88¢ ea., no minimum, but a limit of 4

                                                                                                                                                    2) 2-liter Pepsi or Schweppes 99¢ ea., no minimum, no maximum

                                                                                                                                                    3) 2-liter of any TEN product (7-UP, Canada Dry, Sunkist, or A&W) for FREE with Club Card, limit one, valid through 7/12/14

                                                                                                                                                    Then they have the usual buy 2 get 2 free deals on fridge packs of canned soda.

                                                                                                                                                    I don't know why yours always has minimum purchases to get the sales prices. For here, it's more of a rarity.

                                                                                                                                                    Then if you click on the electronic coupon, you get a one-time deal of $5 off a $30 purchase good through 5/27/14, but that's in the personalized deals if you've signed up for Just4You.

                                                                                                                                                2. Just ran across this, the top five rising prices in food and why

                                                                                                                                                  http://money.msn.com/personal-finance...

                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                    I read further to the 10 most increasing in price foods.
                                                                                                                                                    yep, they're all there.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: iL Divo

                                                                                                                                                      Thanks I missed that one!

                                                                                                                                                  2. No deals this week @ my store! I only spent $28.00. I guess the supermarkets know inexperieced shoppers will be cooking for Mom. Almost as bad as the week before Thanksgiving but @ least then they are giving you a turkey.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I was staggered at the price of bacon this weekend. It's been steadily rising and I switched to the 'cheap' brand ages ago unless storebrand was on sale... this week, Publix had storebrand bacon for over $7 a pack. One of the name brands was on 'sale' for nearly $6. And the 'cheapy' bacon that I used to buy for $3 had gone up to $4. Needless to say, bacon is sadly off our menu...

                                                                                                                                                      9 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                        Just got an off brand (very meaty) for $3.99, that's as good as it gets.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                          With that pig virus that's decimating tens of thousands, what would one expect.?

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                            I agree. The price of bacon is insane now. I never see it below $3.99 lb. and some packages are not even a full pound anymore.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                              I agree that the price of bacon is insane. Hormel Black Label bacon, which was my old standby, was $8.79 a pound when I shopped yesterday. I sob, as I LOVE bacon.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: justalex

                                                                                                                                                                When you say "insane," you DO understand why, right?

                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Kajikit

                                                                                                                                                              We switched to turkey bacon more than a year ago

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                Not as satisfying to me. I'd rather just cut back on the frequency.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                  I cook three slices of bacon for the two of us. With an egg and a half piece of toast each, that's plenty.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                    .........ooooh had to pick myself up from off the floor, ok, better now.
                                                                                                                                                                    yah coll, me too or us too I should say.
                                                                                                                                                                    as much as turkey bacon doesn't bother me much, the hub and rest of family say please no turkey bacon.

                                                                                                                                                                    but even at our supermarkets here local where I always look in the use by date discount section, the 50% off pkgs are off $10 original price so it's still $5 and could be going south. I buy it anyway though and always come home and freeze.

                                                                                                                                                              2. I noticed it with regular yellow onions this weekend. I was making a large pot of stock so needed a fair amount of onions. I usually expect to pay about $0.69 per pound for your basic onion. My local Safeway had them for $1.29. I couldn't believe it.

                                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                  I just got the new crop of Vidalia at $.79. No I'm not in Georgia!

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                    Have you signed up for Safeway's «Just4You» program with your club card? Onions were on my personalized list this week—white onions 66¢ per lb., yellow onions 64¢ per lb.

                                                                                                                                                                    Bacon though, my "special" price is $8.49/lb. for Hormel Black Label, a brand I've previously bought on sale and liked. I nearly choked when I saw that.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                      I have not heard of this Just4You program. With as much money as I spend at Safeway I should have a freaking platinum membership by now.

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                        J4U is great, just go to the safeway.com home page and sign up with your club card. As it learns your shopping history you'll get better and better offers plus free stuff almost every week. The other really good price for a produce item that was in my list this week were lemons, 33¢ ea. instead of 79¢ ea. And these were nice sized lemons.

                                                                                                                                                                        This week I could also pick up any quart of Rice Dream for free if I wanted it, but it's not something I would want to try, even for free. I think that's the only real oddball item that's been pitched to me for free since I've been using the program.

                                                                                                                                                                        <soap box>
                                                                                                                                                                        I'm the type of person who usually opts out of anything where specific data can be tied to my name. I make an exception for J4U since I feel I'm getting fair compensation for the data mining going on, and if someone somewhere wants to make some sort of electronic big deal over that I prefer sirloin steak over rib-eye, let 'em have at it, as long as I get free stuff and frequent specials on items I'm likely to put into my shopping cart anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                        Saving 90¢ a gallon on a tank of gas a couple of months ago because I took advantage of a promo for extra Gas Rewards didn't hurt either. Woohoo, so Safeway learned that I put Plus instead of Regular into my car. Someone somewhere could probably extrapolate that anyway just based upon what kind of car I drive.

                                                                                                                                                                        I actually view my shopping history as my intellectual property in a way, and expect to be compensated for sharing it. That's why I don't do surveys if I don't get something worthwhile for my time from it, unless I've a specific incident to report that I feel passionate about (good or bad).
                                                                                                                                                                        </soap box>

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                          J4U saves me a ton of money!

                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                          This week's J4U list from Safeway for the Portland area came out today, and this week's personalized freebie for me is a chub or pack of Pillsbury ready-to-bake cookies up to the 16.5 oz. size. Retail value: $3.69

                                                                                                                                                                          Oh yeah, free cookies! Count me in. Nice thing about this is that I don't have to make any other purchase to get it. I could just walk into the store and "buy" nothing other than my free item.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                            I signed up yesterday and will keep a careful eye on it.

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                        I was in WinCo a few days ago for basics after Dr. apt since it's behind the local hospital. needed some things, had a short list, they had vidalia's for .68lb so I bought 2 huge ones and the most beautiful vine tomatoes for .98lb so I bought 2 of those too. I'll go back today again for more toms and vids because I bought the hubby wrong kind of bath soap which makes him break out so I have to exchange. can't believe onions either, but want to get some extras so I can harvest the seeds. I'll be going to our Von's as well and ask for a nice taste of the prettiest most unusual heirloom tomatoes they have where maybe I can get a seed or two from those also.

                                                                                                                                                                      3. When I went to housekeeping, round steak used to go on sale at 3 lb x $1 and milk was 69 cents a gallon. Times change. Still, it's worth shopping around. In Chicago, price differential among neighborhooods and stores is huge. Last week I saw Roma tomatoes for 39 cents lb and for $2.99. Most stores now put their weekly ad online so it's easier than ever to take advantage of specials and loss-leaders.

                                                                                                                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                          Thats the one that always gets me, when I see top or bottom round which went for 5.99 a kg now at what a t-bone was 12.99 a kg and tbones sometimes up to 35.00 a kg. But t-bones still comes down to 12.99 but top round never goes below 8.99.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Querencia

                                                                                                                                                                            while I worked through college at Gemco, we had loss leaders that we'd even promote in the housewears dept.
                                                                                                                                                                            line it up front and center sure to catch an eye and things'd disappear off the shelf. didn't really matter because it cost the store next to nothing originally

                                                                                                                                                                          2. My local chain is advertising in its circular Tilapia filets for $7.99 /lb - that seems insane (not that I would pay good money for Tilapia anyway) but really? - putting that out there as a "deal" seems outrageous

                                                                                                                                                                            also advertised as "fresh", um, fresh-ly thawed maybe

                                                                                                                                                                            why so much for Chinese mush fish?

                                                                                                                                                                            1. The rise in grocery prices also came at a time that our only chain supermarket also shifted almost all of their stock to shelf space for packaged foods from the big food industry companies. ie: con agra, kraft et al and all their various subsidiary brands. It became impossible to find something like a bag of dry beans among the boxes and boxes of processed food junk.

                                                                                                                                                                              What helps is to cook as much as possible from scratch then try to find the best deal on those raw ingredients. Costco has been useful for much of that. I can get a giant bag of whatever veggie for the same price as the tiny bag at the supermarket. This has cut our food budget almost in half. We grow as much of our own veggies in the summer and shop the farmers markets for deals on what is in season.

                                                                                                                                                                              I can get beef from the local butcher at HALF the cost of the supermarket chain but I have to drive a 50 mile round trip to do it. I head down there when I have the cash to stock up. Costco's meat isn't half the price but is considerably less than the supermarket and is actually better quality and fewer instances of it being chemically laden goo. We have a few things we buy at the local coop as they are cheaper or they offer a better quality item for about the same price.

                                                                                                                                                                              There are a few things I will just plunk down the cash for, mayo and ketchup. They are a pain to replicate even though it is cheaper. Costco has a gigantic jar of Helmans Mayo for the same price as the standard jar at the supermarket. I buy Heinz organic ketchup off Amazon in a set of large sized bottles. I can't stand Heinz regular since they put corn syrup in it and changed the recipe. The organic has sugar and tastes more like what I remember it tasting like but the small bottles at the supermarket are over $3.00 each.

                                                                                                                                                                              I think people need to really rethink how much processed food they buy as much of the really nasty price hikes are in all the boxes of convenience type food products at the same time many of those options are being loaded with junk fillers.

                                                                                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blackpointyboots

                                                                                                                                                                                "our only chain supermarket also shifted almost all of their stock to shelf space for packaged foods from the big food industry companies. ie: con agra, kraft et al and all their various subsidiary brands. It became impossible to find something like a bag of dry beans among the boxes and boxes of processed food junk."

                                                                                                                                                                                What chain is that? I've not seen anything like it.

                                                                                                                                                                                My food co-op is significantly more expensive than any of the grocery stores in the area. And I pay A LOT more for localmeat. Where do you live?

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                  Hyvee stores in the midwest.

                                                                                                                                                                              2. Had to go to Costco to get some fair prices for protein this week. Boneless & skinless chicken thighs @ $1.99 lb & fresh cod filet @ $7.99. The thigh price is their usual and the cod price is just ok. Stop & Shop has previously frozen cod for $5.00. Eggs & milk are always nicely priced there too.

                                                                                                                                                                                14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                  You won't get a premium cut of cod at S&S, they cut off the top (king cut) thicker portion. S&S eggs and milk almost never beat Costco.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: treb

                                                                                                                                                                                    I'm not a fan of Stop & Shop but it's the closest supermarket to my house. Produce is good but pricey, seafood is generally terrible as is their beef and other prices are higher than my preferred store, ShopRite (Norwalk, CT

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                      The Shop Rite Sunday circular was advertising Tyson boneless, skinless chicken breast 2.5lb-3.5lb package at 50% off (price reflected on package). I picked up a 3.19lb pkg @$2.99 total=$9.45. I thought it meant I would get 50% off the marked price but the cashier said the price marked was already the sale price. So I went to the courtesy counter and spoke to them. They insisted the same. I asked them if they were telling me that the regular price of these 4 chicken breasts was $19.00? Who would buy 4 chicken breasts for $19.00? So they went to the Manager and found out that it should be $2.49lb on sale not $2.99. Regular price is $5.00lb, so 4 breasts for $15.00+ Still insane. They refunded me my cost because it was marked incorrectly but there is no way I would ever pay their regular price for chicken breasts.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Jerseygirl111

                                                                                                                                                                                        Especially Tyson as it is typically pumped to about 12%.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Figure a gallon of water weighs 8 lbs & costs about a penny from the utility, paying $2.49 a lb for a 1/3 lb of water is robbery :-(

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                          You're right, this is something the professionals always take into consideration.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                            A purveyor friend sell's non pumped which tastes like chicken but boneless skinless breasts comes in 20 lb cases which is more chicken than I can use.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                              I finally had to break down and buy a big freezer for the basement, it helps a bit.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah I bought a manual defrost freezer for the basement years back. Don't know how efficient it is but its always packed. I may see if I can split a case with a friend.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I am right now pulling stuff out, trying to clear a shelf, using the excuse of a holiday weekend; making room for whatever may come my way in the near future. I've had the additional freezer for about 12 years now (not manual defrost, thank god!) and so far so good, despite Hurricane Sandy etc ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                    The old manual defrost is ok for us because I still have a bunch of 151 qt Igloo coolers in the basement from commercial fishing days which makes defrosting a breeze.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We have expensive food tastes & I buy in bulk. I couldn't imagine not having a designated freezer. Good friends seem to really appreciate out freezer as well :-).

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                      A little OT but my dry aging meat will get pulled on Weds. A feast that night and the rest will be cut in thick steaks and FoodSavered.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Come Wed you will have succeeded in doing something that fewer tan 5% of the population have ever done.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Beef is a funny thing. Mastering how to look at the ends of a whole sub primal for marbling score takes time and practice. Every time I go into a place that has them I look at all of them and compare them. Shape throughout the length of the sub primal is also important for final yield. Think of it as a game and look at all the pieces of the puzzle every time you get the chance, even if you are not buying.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Aging is a whole other skill set. Experimentation on how long with a particular cut to your particular tastes will take time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        One thing for sure is your on the fast track to beating most restaurants at 25% the cost.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm in love with my freezer!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                    We got a small chest freezer recently. We'll be getting a local lamb or two and maybe a goat. Along with stock and other meats.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. I think a lot of it depends on what you buy. Normally, I spend $40-50 a week for the 2 of us and we eat grass fed beef, wild fish, organic dairy, lots of veggies and pretty much nothing processed. (Since I work from home I don't require convenience foods, I'm able to make time to make things.)

                                                                                                                                                                                    Today I had to pick up things for FIL's birthday BBQ this weekend which will be out in the middle of nowhere with no stores close by- everything has to go with us and there is nowhere to prep, wash up, etc. I was assigned "sides and drinks." They prefer Bush's baked beans, canned soda, chips and bottled salsa, etc. EIGHTY TWO FREAKING DOLLARS after all of my digital coupons and deals and I feel like I got nothing! I didn't even buy meat! I didn't even get anything for us other than cream for tomorrow's coffee- I still have to go back out and do our grocery shopping this weekend.

                                                                                                                                                                                    33 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                      "Normally, I spend $40-50 a week for the 2 of us and we eat grass fed beef, wild fish, organic dairy, lots of veggies"

                                                                                                                                                                                      How are you doing all that on $40-50 dollars a week? How many meals are you serving? Where doyou live? Are your portion sizes very small?

                                                                                                                                                                                      Around here I spend @ least $100.00 for the two of us on non organic produce, corn fed meat, fish & seafood fro the supermarket. Buying what you buy would cost me at minimum $200.00 weekly.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                        I've always wondered the same. I've concluded I lack the ability to rival weezie's shopping abilities. I just accept fewer other luxury purchases :)

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                          I live about 45 miles east of Los Angeles. I'll try to remember to save and type up my receipts when I shop this weekend. I eat almost all of my meals at home since I work here, he eats 3/4 of his meals either at home or taken to work from home for lunches. I don't think our portion sizes are small- our plates are full of food! The man of the house is a diesel mechanic with a hearty appetite when he gets home.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                            I still don't know how this works especially in LA. I never eat out and I could never spend that much a week. As I've said before, I'm impressed.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                          For example here's what I've bought & served for dinner over the last 2 weeks. It is 7 days worth of dinner entrees (we went out, skiped dinner or brought in dinner the other nights) not including veggies, sides & dairy from big chain supermarkets, total $86 dollars:
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 porterhouse steaks- $20.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 portion cod-$10.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          1 rack Baby Back Ribs-$10.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 portion flounder-$12.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 portion chicken cutlet-$6.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 portion Short Ribs-$12.00
                                                                                                                                                                                          2 portion Wild Shrimp-$16.00

                                                                                                                                                                                          This is just dinner I also buy food for breakfast & lunch

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm not sure what your "portion" sizes are so I wouldn't be able to compare.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                              good size portions averaging 8-10oz per person. We eat low carb so tend to go heavy on the protein. A typical meal for me is the protein entree & a non-starchy vegetable & humus. I eat some fruit (melon, grapefruit, apple) if I want dessert. I also bake low carb using nut flours & fresh fruits.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                I average 30-40g of carbs a day right now but 10 oz. of meat at one meal would be waaaaayyyyy too much for me and would totally throw off my low carb macros, it sounds like you're probably eating a lot more food than we are. (I'm not diabetic so my needs will be different than yours, I just feel great eating low carb.)

                                                                                                                                                                                                Meat portions that size will drive your grocery bill up for sure.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: weezieduzzit

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Just wondering how does more meat "throw off your low carb macros." Are you referring to the moderate vs high protein aspect of a low carb diet?

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: fldhkybnva

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Yes, that much protein would make me gain weight but that's really for the special diets board. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, that meat size is certainly accounting for a lot of your food budget. A porterhouse EACH??? We'll take an 8oz boneless ribeye and get two meals for the two of us.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Same here, gone are the days of pounding down a lb of steak!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Yes, two 16oz porterhouse. I can eat the whole steak but my wfe shares with the dog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                        My wife usually finishes my steak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: jpc8015

                                                                                                                                                                                                          ate a lot of 32oz Porterhouse steaks when I was entertaining or being entertained for business. 16oz. is a "petite" Porterhouse

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                            and that bone is quite hefty in a 32 oz steak

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Zackly..........
                                                                                                                                                                                                          as you know I also live in Fairfield County, but upcounty from you. We grill every day for our 4 dogs. They have a separate fridge/freezer prep area in the garage with a grill out back of the garage. They get supermarket meat (while our human kitchens and grills are kosher and we can't take advantage of low priced ordinary meat).

                                                                                                                                                                                                          We buy their meat and poultry on sale at our local IGA which has much better quality meat and prices than any of the chains including Stew's. About 3 months ago I bought them 30 1.5" thick porterhouse steaks at $3.99lb. Then 6 weeks ago I bought 50 cryovac pork tenderloins at 1.99 lb and each month when Fierdale farms boneless chicken breast is on sale at $1.79 I'll buy 50 lbs. I also buy fresh turkey breasts at $1.99 or boneless turkey thighs at $1.59 to grill for them. Every 8-10 weeks they'll have family packs of southern style pork ribs (boneless and rib cut mixed) at $1.00 lb. This meat is consistently higher quality than the chains and averages $1-3 less per pound. We use 1.5 lbs of meat per day for the dogs to supplement their kibble. Our neighbors always joke that they want to come eat off the dogs' grill, and often I find that the neighbors' kids are playing in the yard and I throw some extra on the grill for them too.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                            At those quantities, you should call one of your local smaller purveyors and have it delivered at wholesale!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                              coll.....
                                                                                                                                                                                                              surprising as it sounds, wholesale is usually more expensive than advertised sale/specials in the supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Restaurants and institutions want to lock in prices when possible so as to not have to change menu prices each day/week. Large wholesale operations also contract at set prices when possible. I can remember 40 years ago when I was the purchasing agent for a children's sleepaway camp, that I was always shocked that supermarket prices were cheaper than our wholesale costs. Our head chef explained it to me. The wholesalers deliver, they guaranty our supply (the supermarkets may limit quantity or not have enough of an item in stock to feed 400 for a given meal).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yeah I was just sort of kidding. Large customers can bid and get set prices (and sometimes they lose on those too, you never really know). It's the same with BJ and Costco, supermarkets usually beat them out when they have front page deep sales.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Wow, those are great prices! I thought my fat lazy dog had the life. She would be jealous of your four. I just searched for IGA locations. The 3 locally are three of the higest priced markets in the area: Palmers in Darien, Stewarts in New Cannan & Ancona's in Ridgefield. Is IGA just a buying group? What is the name of the store where you got these great deals? I'd make a pilgrimage. I used to drive from Norwalk to Food Bazar in Bridgeport because they have a good fresh seafood department and reasonably price Asian & Hispanic foods.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                IGA>Independent Grocers Alliance, is a buying/marketing cooperative/franchise system around since the 1920s .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Many of the individual stores are very expensive, especially on canned/boxed goods. We are lucky that in the Western Fairfield County/New Haven County area there is an IGA Chain that operates under the Adams Supermarkets name. Adams is named for Adam Bozzutto, the founder of Bozzutto's who is the IGA Wholesaler for Western New England. In the case of the Adams stores they have eliminated the wholesaler's markup from the cost. So the same meat items on sale in an Adams IGA will be substantially less than Caraluzzi's or in the old days Poricelli's

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was at Adams today on RT 34 in Derby to get meat for the dogs. Stocked up on Fierdale Farms Chicken Breast on the bone at $1.39 and Top Round London Broil at 2.99.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  They always have the next week's circulars available in the store. Starting Friday they'll have their great Porterhouse steaks at $4.99 (1 1/2") The meat manager apologized to me for the price increasze since the last promotion. I placed an order for 50 lbs. They also will have whole pork Tenderloins for 1.99 lb or cut into boneless chops for $2.59. I ordered 40 pounds of the whole for the dogs. I also picked up a few whole Shady Brook Farms Turkeys that were on special for 99 cents/lb. I asked the butcher to put them on the band saw and quarter them so I can grill them for the dogs, he was more than happy to do so.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  BTW>>>we also use Food Bazzar for fish and ethnic pecialties

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    All stored in your kosher refrig? You feed your pouches Porterhouse steaks too@ 5 bucks a pound? I want to come back as a dog in your house!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Phreddy....You missed the earlier posts explaining that in our freestanding garage building there are refrigerators and freezers for the dogs food as well as a sink, prep area, small stove and a grill on the concrete pad behind the garage. None of this comes into the house or is for human consumption by our human family.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The dogs in our home have a wonderful life. They are all rescues and give us great amounts of love and pleasure. The average across the board of the meat and poultry we feed the dogs is $2. We can afford to feed porterhouse at $4.99 when we balance it with the chicken leg quarters at 79 cents per pound or the southern style boneless pork ribs that I was lucky enough to get 50+ pounds of at $1 per pound. Our youngest dog has grain allergies and believe me the meat off the grill is far cheaper than the Blue Buffalo dog food the vet suggested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      If it weren't for feeding the dogs, i really would have no idea what non-kosher meat costs. Kosher meat on the other hand is outrageously prohibitive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        OT perhaps but I also feed a grain-free kibble. With our 15 y.o. Puli, her appetite has declined and she's lost weight. So, in addition to cottage cheese and other goodies, she gets some chicken. Two dollars a day sounds reasonable to me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Because our dogs all graze from bowl to bowl we have to feed the same food. So, it's the fresh grilled meat with a little bit of the Blue Buffalo Healthy Weight small size kibble.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The meat average cost per pound is about 70 cents less per pound than the dry kibble

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          When Diesel started to lose weight...we're not sure of his age, as he's been rescued twice, we make sure he gets the chicken skin and the fatty ends of the other meats. Turns out his 10lb weight loss wasn't because of age, but being run ragged by the now 18 month old youngest.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: bagelman01

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We're feeding the Kirkland/Costco Natures Domain which I understand is comparable to Blue Buffalo.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We also have a rescue (Airedale Terrier) with age up to debate :) She has a sensitive stomach so she gets kibble and yogurt. And she's our girl who is incessantly hungry so we have to watch everything :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good for you, sir.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I had a Golden retriever in the mid nineties, the best dog ever! He had stomach issues early on and the vet recommended using a prescription dog food that he sold. It was very expensive. At the time Consumer Reports was touting Walmart's Old Roy. I looked my dog in the eye and said "Sonny get used to Old Roy the other brand costs 4X as much for half the amount.". Within a month his stomach issues resolved themselves and he never had problems again. He lived to twelve which is good for a Golden. I now use a Kirkland brand after switching from Innova Red Meat Large Bites.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: PHREDDY

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        We also make (almost) all of our dog food. We have a rescue Husky named Tom. He eats a mix of chicken, rice, sweet potatoes & carrots. Carrots are his favorite food & he prefers baby carrots as his favorite treat. I buy boneless chicken in bulk @ Restaurant Depot & make his food in 30# batches. That gets broken up into 1 cup portions which are known around our house as 'Tom Cakes'. The chicken runs anywhere from $1.29 to $1.89 per pound. Here's a picture of Tom. He seems to be doing well on his Tom Cakes.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Does Tom know that most "baby" carrots are just regular ones 'cut down to size'?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Shhhhhhh.....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: JoeBabbitt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. Going food shopping for a family of 4 on disability is no picnic,but we are grateful,it hurts when I see all those nice big steaks wishing I could afford to buy them but cant,our steak is a London broil that's small and cheap!
                                                                                                                                                                                                      we buy what we can afford,usually ends up the same things each time we shop.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: cantbeatgoodfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I feel your pain.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hope you are able to treat yourselves occasionally. Helps the spirit!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: cantbeatgoodfood

                                                                                                                                                                                                          There is a tool (Jaccard) which tenderizes on its own and also aids the marination process. Its reasonably priced & really helps with tough cuts.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. Two recent articles addressing the reasons for higher food prices:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          From NY Post today an article about current all time high food prices
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://nypost.com/2014/06/18/meat-pou...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          From the Wall Street Journal last ween an article about world wide demand for protein:

                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/S...

                                                                                                                                                                                                          15 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is in line with price raises the last 3 or 4 years, nothing new. 8% always seems to be the amount. It only just finally hit the price point level where consumers are noticing it. Maybe it will slow down now?

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                              This is a rather detailed piece but seems to belie that. What we're seeing now really hasn't been seen. This quote from the NYP is key, I believe:

                                                                                                                                                                                                              "The dramatic cost spike is due in part to a drought in California, thin cattle herds and a recent pork virus, according to experts."

                                                                                                                                                                                                              And if CA is in the beginning of 100 year drought, as the scientists are saying, then it's going to get worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oops, forgot the link :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-2/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Interesting stuff. I’ve used the «Watermelon Index» over the years. In the 60s, whole seeded watermelon was 3¢/lb., and casabas (my favorite) were 5¢/lb.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  These days, whole watermelons can fetch $5 ea. or more, and are smaller. Casabas usually go for 99¢/lb. Those are huge, whopping increases for melons, but worked into those prices are that the fruit has usually traveled further, and since it’s available for longer periods, usually has been stored longer, as well. Those costs add up.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  This week “mini seedless” watermelons are $3.99 ea. in the sale ads.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don’t think the drought will have long-term consequences. Once the San Diego desalinization plant goes online, I expect others will follow, allowing more water to be available from the Colorado River for irrigation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  What will have long-term consequences are the budding demands from Asia for animal protein. China is importing staggering amounts, for instance, far more than it ever did.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  But I think we should ration what they get. Let them only buy the highest quality at the highest prices. The U.S. top 1-10% can shoulder the cost of more expensive Choice and Prime steaks if they have to chase overseas buyers for it in the market. If China wants round steak or chuck roasts, let them pollute China for it. I shouldn’t have to pay $4.50 for a quart of mayo because so much grain is being diverted for meat exports on top of what biofuels are sucking out of the finite supply.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I’ll get off my soapbox now. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Back in 2001 or maybe 2002, I visited my sister and her family up in Norman Wells, North West Territories, Canada. The local grocery store there had a watermelon for sale, and granted, a pretty big one. The selling price? CAD50, or around USD32 going by August 2002 exchange rates.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I imagine it's probably gone up since then...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Locally grown?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Good heavens, no. Almost nothing grows up there. It was shipped up the Mackenzie River through Yellowknife, from Edmonton before that. No idea where it was actually grown.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We were in Alaska recently and someone told a story. A guy walked into a store and bought a carton of cigs and, let's say, a candy bar. He paid with a hundred dollar bill and got a ten back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            That is completely unsurprising to me. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: LMAshton

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was kidding, LM. I mean, you wouldn't ask Santa to bring you a watermelon after all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MGZ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Heh. Yeah, sarcasm doesn't always translate. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I hadn't heard about the desalination project and that is GREAT news! I had NO idea. When we start running out of water (which we are) the cost is almost irrelevant. We have to have water. I'm so grateful to you for sharing this.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also think your example of meat exports is excellent. Are you running for public office? If so, I'll move there and vote for you :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LOL, thanks for the support, but no, I've no political ambitions. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          While I'm fairly laisse-faire about world commerce, when the Chinese received approval to buy Smithfield, one of the largest, if not the largest, pork producers in the U.S., I began to hear this great sucking sound emanating from our ability to provide for our own food security. As a result, I've become a bit more aware of the consequences of letting it get too far out of control.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          See for details: http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: RelishPDX

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Chinese ownership makes little difference. If there's an overseas market for US goods that offers greater returns then food will be exported. ADM and Cargill have been exporting grain, corn, soybeans and derivative products for decades (even before WWII). (Cargill was even thumbing its corporate nose at trade restrictions with the USSR and sold products during the cold war through Argentinian middlemen).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We have been competing against the World market for our own foodstuffs well before China entered the picture.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              «We have been competing against the World market for our own foodstuffs well before China entered the picture.»

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Yes, of course. My main concern centers around that we've no real experience with how a country such as China, which is buying up strategic supplies around the globe, will act as a good shepherd when it comes to their role in keeping a healthy supply of pork available for the American market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Truthfully, when you own the whole supply chain, you can siphon off what you'd like for your own home market at whatever transfer price you'd like, leaving a shortage and higher prices in your wake. See: Quinoa.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              My message is more that it's time for us to go into these deals with our eyes wide open.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              China isn't a wholly capitalist country yet. When goals for pork imports need to be met, the U.S. could be the ones left holding the bag with more expensive prices as supply dries up, while a foreign entity can take the profits and a large slice of the production home to feed their own domestic demand.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Well if there's a vast conspiracy among grocers to artificially inflate prices it better trickle down to shareholders. Margins are unbelievably low and with WalMart and Amazon entering into the fray, it's only going to get worse. My grocery investments have been flat or down in the last year.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe it's @ the food manufacturer level and does not trickle down to the supermarkets? Call me a crazy conspiracist but prices are rising across the board regardless if they have anything to do with protein or produce. They're trying to program the consumer to accept higher prices.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: zackly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Food and paper goods started rising noticeably during the gas crisis, when the price of gas doubled and tripled. A lot of what you pay for is for transportation costs, they have to pay that expense after manufacture itself, whether during harvesting, or for shipping.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Feed and fertilizer costs have been seesawing too, which can be just as big a problem. There's a lot more than meets the eye.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You hit the nail on the head Coll.The cost of energy has a tremendous impact on the cost of food production & transportation. Diesel is a major player in the grand scheme of things. Tilling, planting, irrigating, harvesting, transport to storage facilities, transport to production facilities, transport to distribution facilities, transport to wholesale facilities & transport to retail facilities. Diesel for reefers on trailers to keep food cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        A large % of the world has switched to diesel for domestic transportation which has put significant pressure on diesel prices. In addition, the switch to low sulfur diesel required a tremendous capital outlay by the refiners which is added to the cost at the pump.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        In addition, new stricter emissions standards for both highway & off road heavy diesel engines have reduced MPG & increased the cost of diesel engines by about 25% or more, doubled the annual down time for engine failure, tripled repair costs and lowered overall expected engine service life. Caterpillar, one of the largest & most respected diesel manufactures in the world recently announced they are pulling out of the on road diesel engine market because of the new emission standards.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This is not an argument for or against tighter emission standards, rather an example of how up stream costs eventually work their way downstream to the consumer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for elaborating!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: coll

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, I just get tired of the conspiracy theories. Truth is manufactures, wholesalers & retailers have been eating a good portion of the price increases for quite a while now. Many purveyors have been selling certain products at cost just to keep the accounts but it is not sustainable and eventually the cost increases make their way to the consumer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Tom34

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              There is definitely a lag that many consumers don't appreciate. At some point, there has to be a reconciliation. They would love to have the lowest prices, but then reality sets in.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. It's quite simply inflation..... In addition to the droughts here in CA. And with gasoline at record highs, everything costs more to transport and they pass it all onto us.