Food prices have been rising for quite some time, and it does not yet appear there is an end in sight. The consumer price index has food costs up by around 3.5% over the last year. That’s nothing compared to the 25% increase in energy costs, but it’s still a lot and the trend doesn’t seem to be abating.
I am a frugal man these days. I don’t buy extravagant ingredients, but what I define as “extravagant” didn’t used to include beef. As I understand it, the problem is not limited to food, because one of the main underlying issues is transportation costs.
This is not limited to consumers. Here’s a quote from a Washington Post article about the subject:
Sysco, one of the nation’s biggest food distributors, showed food inflation of 10.2 percent on its most recent quarterly report, increases that are passed along to restaurants and to the restaurants’ customers in turn.
The problem is that independent restaurants can’t actually pass those costs along to consumers easily. If the huge, multinational chain restaurants are having problems sourcing ingredients, imagine how independent restaurants are faring? They don’t have the buying power to demand discounts.
Many restaurants in New Orleans have developed relationships with local farmers and producers. Those folks were hit hard by Hurricane Ida, too.
It’s not all doom and gloom, of course. Restaurants have bounced back from worse than Ida in the past. They’ll bounce back again once we get through the pandemic – which we will.
We will once again venture forth, maskless, and shop at grocery stores and farmer’s markets. We will dine indoors in such proximity that we will eventually be annoyed again when someone backs a chair into us when getting up to use the restroom. We will complain about how loud the music is and we will pretend not to know how to calculate a tip when there are more than eight people involved.
“I don’t know math, I’m just here to look pretty,” we will say.
We will tarry too long saying goodbye at the end of the night, because we did have fun and we want everyone to know it, even though we just want to go home. We will attend festivals and we will love the crowds even when we’re being jostled because, we will admit to ourselves, we’ve missed being jostled.
I will enjoy the first jostle or two, then I’ll be back to being annoyed by crowds. I just want the luxury of actually being in a restaurant where it’s too loud to have a conversation because there are too many people yelling over the general din. I hope to be annoyed by that sort of thing soon.