Local Grocer Sees Food Prices Rise, Says Relief on Way | Families

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Local Grocer Sees Food Prices Rise, Says Relief on Way
Local Grocer Sees Food Prices Rise, Says Relief on Way

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Rob Rowe owns two independent grocery stores in Jacksonville and said he has never seen grocery prices rise this high, this fast.

"Tomatoes have been costing me $2 a pound or more," he said.

Rowe said his wholesale costs of groceries has gone up 12 to 15 percent in recent months. Meat prices have increased an average of 25 percent. He blames the rising costs of groceries on the rising price of gas, but also corn.

Four ears of corn sell for $4 now at his store; a year ago they were $2. "Corn is used to feed animals that produce meat, and we have corn being used to fuel automobiles in the form of ethanol, so the price is going to go up. We need to find a way to make more corn."

Corn is in many grocery items like cereal, corn oil, corn syrup and many more items so those prices are going  up as well, not to mention meat, he said.

In the grocery business 32 year, Rose has never seen prices so high. "I used to sell pork chops for less than I can buy them now."

He blames speculators for driving up the prices, but believes those with oil and corn contracts will soon get out and that should ease pressure on grocery prices.

Price hikes have cut into his business profits because he is choosing not to pass on all his increased costs to his customers, he said. 

"They get sticker shock, and don't buy, and I also fear losing customers. We try to keep our prices down and ride out these high prices and hope things get better," he said.

"Our customers thank us for that."