Consumers continue to be hit hard by the drought with people paying more at the pump for gas and now prices are shooting up on the shelves at grocery stores.
United Supermarket's communications director Eddie Owens says the drought is causing this increase and it's all because of the supply and demand of corn.
"Corn is probably one of those staples that few people realize just how much it is used in our food supply and so many other products as well," Owens said. "It's used as a cattle feed, and it's used for the production of ethanol for fuel supply. There is simply more corn demand than we have supply across the nation."
The Department of Agriculture predicts items like beef, dairy, pork and eggs could rise anywhere from 3.5 to 5% by next year. That could tack on an estimated $615 dollars to the annual grocery bill for a family of four.
"It's very expensive to go grocery shopping," Lyndi Hopper said while shopping at Market Street. "The drought going on in the Midwest is definitely affecting not only produce, but everything." Hopper says she has tried to cut back on spending by buying items like sandwiches that last longer throughout the week.
Other's like Rod Wilson says his family buys in bulk to save. "When we go grocery shopping there is a lot of money being spent, but we raise our own beef," Wilson said. As a rancher Wilson says he is paying more to feed his cattle as well as his family. "It is costing us triple to feed our livestock through this drought. Feed prices are what driving these grocery prices skyhigh."
Owens says unfortunately the high prices of corn will force United and other stores across the nation to raise their prices, but he also says there are ways customers can maximize their shopping dollar.
He says cutting coupons can help lower the grocery bill, and buying in bulk when there are sales can also help save.
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