GREAT FALLS — MTN talked with the owner of 2Js Fresh Market and a professor at Great Falls College about how you can save money as grocery prices continue to increase.
Michael Vetere said 2Js has been dealing with many challenges, including keeping his prices affordable, and also increasing wages for his workers.
He noted, "There's been some pretty good increases in food prices so far this year. A lot of it is fuel, which I think everybody can tell when they go to the gas pump, and the shortage of labor which has demanded some higher wages for the employees as well.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture last month predicted a 4.5 to 5 percent increase in food prices this year, with beef prices predicted to increase between 4 to 7 percent, and the prices of eggs are expected to go up 2.5 to 3.5 percent.
Vetere said, "Plastics and paper products, packaging has caused things to go up. Not necessarily just the product itself, but everything involved in getting it here and putting it in a box."
Kerry Nolan, Great Falls College MSU Accounting Program Director, explained some of the ways people can save money on groceries.
"One of the things we look at is telling people to plan their meals out, so making sure you're going to the grocery store with a plan, what types of meals you want to make for the week, knowing what's already in your shelves, so you're not buying duplicates."
Another important factor Nolan says to consider is not only what to shop for, but also where you are shopping.
"There's usually a premium, so things will cost more if its convenient, or if it's a nicer shopping experience, so if you're buying your food at a gas station, it's usually going to cost more than a grocery store. The grocery stores that cater to a nicer shopping experience typically will charge a little bit more as well, and so maybe you shake things up, and you try a different grocery store, see if the prices are different. It's often not worth your time to drive around town for individual items, but taking a chance and looking at a new store if it's close to your neighborhood."
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