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Inflation: Food price spike felt by local food banks

Posted at 8:50 PM, Nov 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-10 20:52:51-05

(WXYZ) — The cost of just about everything is on the rise, according to a national report. It's impacting everyone in metro Detroit.

The report shows prices have risen 6.2% over the past year. You'd have to go back three decades to find an increase that big.

Gas prices are at a seven-year high. A new car will cost you 10% more than it did a year ago. Food prices aren't exempt.

Ashlee Wolosion and Alex Lazarov found themselves among hundreds of families who lined up for food at one of Gleaners Community Food Bank’s distribution sites. They went to the site at Center Line's Peck Elementary.

"It's rough. It is getting really rough out here," Wolosion told 7 Action News.

"(The Gleaners food is) enough to get us through what we need to get through until we get more money to buy more grocery for our household," Lazarov added.

The couple is disheartened by the sharp rise in the cost of groceries. It's a pinch also felt by Gleaners when the organization purchases staple items.

"Apples have increased about 50% and potatoes over a hundred percent," Stacy Averill, Gleaners vice president of community giving, said.

She said canned goods, including fruit and vegetables, have increased anywhere from 10% to 50%.

Averill added that the cost of rice, pasta and frozen chicken have gone up as well.

She says distribution has managed to continue as normal, but the food bank may need to adjust.

"That could mean different variety of product because we're having to find cost efficiencies. It could mean less food going out because we're ultimately not able to find similar products for a lower cost, (then) we may have to purchase less food," Averill explained.

So how did the rise in food prices and other consumer goods get to this point anyway?

"At the moment, we have two things at once. We have extremely strong demand and we have very severe disruptions in supply," Daniil Manaenkov, a researcher in the University of Michigan's Department of Economics said.

He explained the demand comes, in part, from an influx in money distributed to Americans from the federal government such as stimulus checks.

The disruptions in the supply chain are linked to a shortage of workers as well as COVID-19 outbreaks.

Manaenkov said the news is "going to get worse before it gets better because a lot of inflation for the next several months is already baked in."

He estimates consumer prices are probably going to stay elevated through the next three to six months.