Higher Grocery Bills | VideoAlex Hagan | 12/5/2012
Grocery stores are busier these days, especially out in the oil patch. More newcomers means more demand for food, but when demand outweighs supply, prices go up.
"In a month I probably go to the grocery store twice and spend around $500 a month," said Dickinson resident Dan Glasser.
There`s a lot of money to be made out in the oil fields, but for those working in the service industry, grocery bills are an issue.
"People on a fixed income and retired people are a different story. It affects them all a little bit different," said Tom Woodmansee with the North Dakota Grocers Association.
Items such as milk, bread, and sugar are higher than the national average. Grocery stores need more deliveries for inventory.
"Retailers are getting sometimes two and up to four deliveries a week, where before, they used to have one," Woodmansee said.
He says another reason for higher prices is labor costs. Employers are having a tough time finding workers which means higher wages.
"We`re talking about eight dollar an hour jobs that are now gone to 14, 15, sometimes 16 dollars an hour in order to keep people in the store and then that`s reflected on the cost of you doing business."
There have been accusations in the past stores have raised their prices without a cause, but grocers association employees say that is not true.
"I don`t think they gouge because they need to be able to have the consumer come back," Woodmansee said.
More shoppers are now taking advantage of sale prices. Coupon redemption has almost doubled in the last 12 to 14 months.
"I have noticed that we started to look for coupons a lot more and using coupons at the grocery store," Glasser said.
Right now consumers will take any strategy to save a little money on groceries.
The North Dakota Grocers Association says Bismarck`s prices are not as high as western North Dakota solely because of transportation costs.