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Grocery store manager explains high prices on meat

Choosing meat
Choosing meat(WKYT)
Published: May. 20, 2020 at 11:18 AM CDT
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A hot topic these past few weeks has been the prices people are paying at the grocery store.

A WAFF viewer sent us a message alleging possible price gouging at the Moulton Foodland, after she bought ground chuck for $7.29 a pound.

Before the pandemic, you could find the same product for roughly half of that at different grocery stores.

We reached out to the Foodland and talked to the manager, Greg Morris, he said this isn’t just an issue at his store but at places across the country.

Morris said there is no price gouging happening at his Foodland, in fact, they’re making less profit off of meat right now.

“We’re cutting our percentage down to keep it down to try and help the customers out," said Morris.

He said this all started when people stocked up on meat when the pandemic first began.

The problem they’re running into now is COVID-19 is closing down meat packaging plants, slowing the production and making meat more expensive for stores to buy.

Stores then have to pass that increase on to customers. But, Morris said they’ve actually not increasing prices to the customers at the same rate.

So, Morris said they are charging more than they used to but are making less profit. He said the store is barely making enough to cover employee payroll.

As the panic over the pandemic recedes, Morris is hoping things will go back to normal.

“We feel like people will stop buying, slow down their buying and eat what’s in the freezer, so the supplies will fill back up and the prices will go back down," he said.

As stated, this is not just a problem at the Foodland in Moulton, across the country, people are paying more for groceries.

The Labor Department reported that prices U.S. consumers paid for groceries jumped 2.6% in April, the largest one-month jump in almost 50 years.

WAFF reached out to larger grocery stores like Kroger, Publix and Walmart.

A Kroger representative said the company is working hard to make sure their meat available for their customers by getting food from several different suppliers. However, the representative did say some suppliers are experiencing problems right now.

“Due to the current health crisis and the record demand across the country, the grocery industry has continued to experience supplier cost increases on select goods. However, we are making every effort to keep elevated costs from being passed down to our customers,” the Kroger representative said.

Walmart and Publix have not returned our request for a statement.

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