Local/State

Prices at the pump may soon affect grocery prices

Thursday, March 10, 2011
, Shirleen Allicot
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The cost of filling up is going up, and it appears that it's only a matter of time before you're digging deeper in your pockets to pay for groceries.

"On a fixed income like I am, senior citizen, it's difficult," said Helen Woods.

It's a topic affecting almost everyone who goes grocery shopping.

Food prices across the country are facing the largest increase in two years according to government officials.

"I think fresh vegetables, you don't prepare as much as you usually do," said Eileen Stang.

For Eileen Stang, these days buying fresh peppers or leafy greens are a choice between having a healthy meal and filling up at the pump.

As oil prices continue to soar due to fears about the unrest in Libya and across the Middle East, many people are left to wonder, will that only make things worse in the months to come?

The Philadelphia Regional Produce Market is where all of the region's fruits and vegetables come first.

"What's been affecting the prices right now has been all weather related; freezes in Arizona and different parts of the country," explains Sonny DiCrecchio.

But President of the produce market, Sonny DiCrecchio says by next month, gas prices will be the problem.

"If you have a load of romaine, a trailer load of romaine driven in from California, right now it can cost you $5,000 just to drive that in. If next month, the price of gas is still up, that load will cost $2,500 more," said DiCrecchio.

DiCrecchio says transportation costs for getting produce from fields to stores will surely become a hardship on the farmer and the consumer.

But he also says in a few months, there will be a silver lining.

"You'll have your local product coming in, local produce from New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and it'll be affordable, still eating fresh fruits and vegetables," DiCrecchio said.

And at grocery stores like Wegman's, they've decided to help by freezing the price of 40 frequently bought food items through the end of the year.

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food, gas prices, local/state, shirleen allicot
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