FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 3, 2022 • THE QUEENS COURIER 21
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Rising grocery prices force Forest Hills residents to buy less as infl ation soars
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
As infl ation is raising the cost of food
items at supermarkets, some residents in
Forest Hills say they are cutting down
their shopping lists and strategizing on
how to save more money when it comes
to buying groceries.
A few months ago, Heather W. noticed
an increase in the cost of produce and
other food items that she usually buys at
the grocery store.
“I went shopping yesterday, and a loaf
of bread that was $1.99 for quite some
time is now $2.49. I was dumbfounded
when I saw that,” Heather told QNS. “A
bag of tomatoes has gone up from $1.99
to $2.49, and a bag of potato chips also
went up from $1.99 to $2.49.”
According to Heather, who lives with a
roommate and does her own shopping,
her monthly budget for groceries is more
than $200. She goes grocery shopping at
least once a week to buy fresh produce.
“Depending on what I need, I’ll go to
three main grocery stores: Trader Joe’s,
Whole Foods and ShopRite. My main
staples that I get every week is an organic
bag of salad, tomatoes, carrots and celery.
For other items I’ll change my weekly
list depending on what’s on sale at
Whole Foods and ShopRite,” Heather
In order to save money, it’s important
for Heather to plan her budget accordingly,
and to buy items that are on sale
— such as toilet paper and paper towels
— rather than buying in bulk, she said.
“I’m always on the lookout for coupons,
even if I go to a specifi c website
and print on occasion to use at the grocery
store,” Heather said. “I’m not buying
as many things as I normally would
at the grocery store, and it’s unfortunate
what is going on. Companies are extorting
people and taking advantage of this
time. I think in their mind, they’re thinking,
‘well, the general consumer already
knows prices are going up; we’ll just
knock it up a little bit more.’ I’ve heard
the news that infl ation is at 7%, 7.5%, but
what I’m seeing at the grocery store is
much more than that.”
Th e Consumer Price Index (CPI), the
most widely followed infl ation gauge,
increased 7% from December 2020 to
December 2021 — its highest rate in
nearly 40 years, according to the Pew
Th e CPI is a measure of the average
change over time in the prices paid by
urban consumers for a market basket of
goods and services.
Th e price of food and utilities surged
in January from the previous month,
according to a report from the U.S.
Department Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Cereals and bakery products increased
1.8% over the month, according to the
Labor Department. Th e index for other
food at home increased 1.6% last month,
while dairy and related products rose
1.1%. Fruits and vegetables rose 0.9%
over the month, while meats, poultry,
fi sh and eggs increased 0.3%.
By far the largest increase was for
meats, poultry, fi sh and eggs, which rose
12.2% over the year. Dairy and related
products increased 3.1%, the smallest
12-month increase among the groups,
according to the Department of Labor.
Th e increased prices at supermarkets
are due in part to the supply chain turmoil,
worker shortage, COVID-19 and
other issues, according to reports.
For families, who have been navigating
the challenges of the COVID-19
pandemic, the rising costs of groceries
have been diffi cult, resulting in cutbacks
on spending and omitting certain items
from their list.
One Forest Hills resident, who is a parent
of two children, says for the most
part he and his wife spend only when
“I fi nd myself buying cheaper grocery
items and avoiding the expensive ones
— for example, eggs and chicken for
protein, and lots of vegetables and certain
fruits only,” said the resident, who
requested to remain unnamed.
According to another resident, the
price of sweet potatoes at Key Food
on Queens Boulevard at 71st Road in
January was on average 99 cents per
pound. For one week, they were on sale
for 33 cents. Since February, they have
been $1.29, and the cost is similar at
Foodtown as well, he said.
In order to save money, some residents
have switched stores and commute to
other neighborhoods, where the produce
is sometimes fresher and cheaper.
For Laura Reyes, who is a single parent
raising a teenager, she has now resorted
to shopping outside of Forest Hills for
groceries. Reyes commutes to Corona,
Flushing and Jamaica, and if she’s in
Brooklyn or the Bronx visiting or just
driving through, she’ll make sure to pick
up a few items since it’s much cheaper.
“I used to pay a total of $25 for three
packs of diff erent types of meats and
now it’s about $65, so I don’t pick it up,”
Reyes said. “I get chicken from Western
Beef which is cheaper and can be cut into
more pieces if I want to make it last. We
eat smaller portions and try our best to
save everything we don’t eat.”
She also clips coupons and shares a BJs
card with her friend and racks up points,
which gives them more money that they
can spend at a later date.
“I no longer get name brand items,
only generic brands especially when on
sale. If I’m in CVS, I get their brand. If
I’m in Key Food, I get their store brands,
and if you use their coupon at the store
and online, you’ll get a cheaper price
all the time,” Reyes said. “We also go to
Walmart aft er September to get supplies
for the kids for next year, which are on
sale and have great discounts when they
want to empty their inventory.”
Reyes added, “Th ough it has been hard,
I make it work the best I can.”
The increased prices at supermarkets are due in part to the supply chain turmoil, worker shortage, COVID-19 and other issues, according to reports.