Food prices increase at groceries

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the global supply of goods and services, consumers are already facing increased prices at the groceries and are now being told to brace for more increases.

Confirming this was Supermarket Association of T&T (SATT) president Rajiv Diptee yesterday. “People will always assume that it’s the supermarkets raising the prices, but there have been a plethora of price increases from suppliers,” Diptee said.

He pointed out that the supermarkets can normally access discounts or specials on certain items from suppliers, but with COVID-19 causing major disruptions in international supply chains this has been eliminated.

Citizens have been complaining to Guardian Media about the increases in grocery bills and unsavoury price gouging during the COVID measures.

Some groceries yesterday confirmed that prices on some items will increase. While many of the items that will rise in cost remain uncertain, Guardian Media understands the price of peas and nuts will surely increase due to COVID’s impact on suppliers.

In a recent release by the SATT, Diptee said events took a quick turn as seaports across the world began closing due to the virus at the beginning of March. He said this, in addition to ‘stay-at-home’ orders, sparked waves of panic buying globally, which in turn significantly impacted foreign supplies.

The release said the closure of many global shipping ports had impacted on freight cost with a concomitant increase in prices.

“The equation of limited supply versus an increased demand for goods will figure significantly on the final price of the product, with the end result being increased prices passed over to consumers,” Diptee said.

Yesterday, Super Quality Supermarket owner Feroze Khan agreed the price increase coming from the local suppliers were based on international price increases.

Khan split peas and lentil peas had made significant jumps. He said yellow split peas normally goes for $200 to $250 a bag but has now doubled to approximately $450 per bag.

Grocery owner Kumar Maharaj, who said that peas prices had gone up to $500 a bag in his experience, also confirmed this.

Khan said the price increase came about because supplies that are usually purchased from Canada are now coming from merchants in Miami, which escalates the price.

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