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Vermont shoppers cope with higher prices

Published: Feb. 1, 2022 at 1:28 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - If you feel like you’ve been paying more at the grocery store to feed your family, you’re right. Channel 3′s Cam Smith has the details and tips from shoppers on how to battle inflation while you shop.

“I see the prices skyrocketing it’s crazy,” said Mary Ouellette, of Vergennes, just one of many shoppers dealing with the challenges of higher food prices. “We’re on a fixed income and everything else goes up, but our income doesn’t go up. It really makes you go for the cheaper brands, and don’t shop as much.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, consumers dealt with a 6.3% increase in prices between December 2020 and December of 2021. More specifically, in categories like meat, eggs, poultry, and fish, prices rose by upwards of 12.5%. In others, including fruits and vegetables, shoppers saw a 5% price jump.

“Historically, we’ve seen a 2% or 3% increase year over year,” said Erin Sigrist with the Vermont Retail and Grocers Association. She says as a result of the pandemic, we’re dealing with more than just higher prices. “Manufacturing sites are still short-staffed. Truckers are still lacking across the country. We have thousands of shipping containers waiting to be moved out of ports.”

But while many Vermont store shelves may still be full, business owners like Kelly Meunier with Elmwood-Meunier Funeral & Cremation Center in Burlington, have been forced to make some difficult decisions due to higher prices, and that has a domino effect. “We have to pay the higher price but we have a funeral home so we have to make a living and we have to start raising our prices so we can live,” she said.

To combat the challenge of higher prices, shoppers like RikkiAnn Boshears of Burlington, have changed their approach to shopping. “First, I see what is on the circular to see what’s on sale. But also, a lot of the grocery stores have these great apps that you can use where it’s customized to you or they have digital coupons,” she said.

“I don’t anticipate that we’ll see another 6.5% increase over the next year,” Sigrist said.

For now, shoppers must continue to battle inflation as they fight to feed their families.

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