Food prices are dropping, and grocers are taking steps to use the decline to woo new customers. You might put the information to good use to make your food dollars go further.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported an overall drop in grocery costs of 2 percent over last year. Among the biggest declines are the prices for raw ground beef (9 percent) and roasted coffee (4.3 percent.) Protein sources such as all meats, poultry, fish and eggs, showed a 7 percent drop, a reflection of a rebound from higher prices that resulted from tight supplies. The price on eggs, for example, had gone up to $2.29 last year in September, but in the same month in this year had dropped to 79 cents a dozen.
The prices of some items has increased, including fresh fruits, butter and margarine.
Grocers operating in highly competitive markets, instead of simply pocketing the savings, respond to the lower prices in most categories by running sales promotions in an effort to lure customers from their competitors. Particularly among the stores that tout organic products, the competition is fierce. Consumers are the winners in this war for custom, according to the experts in the field.
With the current situation expected to persist for at least the next five or six months, now may be a good time to stock the freezer with good buys.
Meat promotions are attracting a lot of shoppers. Major food outlets report “incredible” sales of beef and pork. The increase in sales in this category has had an effect on fast food outlets, which report lower than expected sales. Consumers apparently are finding it more economical to buy beef and grill it themselves .Cheaper eggs, on the other hand, have not excited extraordinary sale because their popularity does not fluctuate as much.
Many grocers are using meat sales to attract customers, while keeping other grocery items at the same level, said the consulting firm of TABS Analytics. The perception of lower prices overall does not hold up.
How long the trend will last is not clear, but for now, it will pay to compare prices and take advantage of the market.