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Mainers see jump in food costs due to coronavirus outbreak

(WABI)
Published: May. 28, 2020 at 12:11 AM EDT
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The coronavirus outbreak across the country and the world has led to a jump in food costs for Mainers.

Pinpointing a singular reason for the increase in prices at the grocery store is difficult.

‘It’s just the whole aspect of the supply chain beginning to change as a result of different work practices, and as a result, I think that’s beginning to filter to the prices that we are facing. Originally it was costs have risen. Now, that’s starting to trickle through to prices,” University of Maine economics professor Andy Crawley said.

The food supply chain is evolving because of new stresses cause by COVID-19.

“Cleaning and sanitation protocols, coupled with transportation demands, have really led to some of the price increases,” Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association Executive Director Christina Cummings said.

The USDA’s food price outlook said overall, grocery prices will rise 2.5%. Prices have already increased by nearly 4% for meats, poultry and fish, 15% for eggs and 2.7% for cereal and baked goods.

Predicting a return to pre-pandemic prices is challenging.

“This came about so quickly, most economists could never predicted we would see this at this kind of pace, so unfortunately it is a wait and see,” Crawley said.

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