DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — Inflation in the United States is currently at 7%, which is the highest it has been in 40 years.
One industry that is suffering from inflation is grocery stores, as they are trying to keep their shelves full, while also keeping their products affordable.
Shur Valu Foods in Dothan is locally-owned and operated and are seeing some of these issues impact there store. Before the pandemic, Shur Valu was able to get deals on certain products that were needed, and now they are having to buy products in bulk.
“We’re trying to buy up as much as we can and get the biggest discount for the customer so that we can offer the best price,” Owner of Shur Valu Foods, Jai Freeman said.
Freeman says they are seeing price increases as the cost of products rises, but that they are seeing familiar numbers in regards to their profit margin.
Nationally, food prices went up by 0.5% in December, which less than the months prior, but it is still creating problems for grocery stores as they try to buy certain products.
“The hardest thing to get right now is private label,” Freeman said.
Private label products are better known as store-brand products, as factories have flipped from producing both name-brand products and store-brand products to prioritizing name-brand products, which presents its own challenge.
“Hurts the person that is on a budget, you know senior citizens and local people a lot because they need that added value, and it’s really hard to provide that,” Freeman said.
The supply chain is also playing a role in this price increase and the possibility of an empty shelf, as grocery stores nationwide have to wait and watch the clock to make sure their shipments arrive on time.
“If a truck misses a delivery window at the retailer or at the wholesaler,” VP of Industry Relations for the Food Industry Association Doug Baker said. “That has to be rescheduled.”
With the inflation rate on the rise, it’s not only spending shoppers’ money, but also the money of the grocery store.