Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Soaring Food Prices Draining San Diegans' Income...Further

Anguish at the gas pump is nothing new. But now consumers are facing agony at the grocery store too. Food prices have soared nearly 6 percent in the last year. Full Focus Reporter Amita Sharma has mor

Anguish at the gas pump is nothing new. But now consumers are facing agony at the grocery store too. Food prices have soared nearly 6 percent in the last year. Full Focus Reporter Amita Sharma has more.

Whether it’s on milk, eggs, oranges, cereal or beef, San Diegans are spending more on their grocery bills.

For people like 80-year-old Betty Courtney, who lives on a fixed income, the spike in food prices has meant altering her diet.

Courtney : I cut out a lot of meats and a certain amount of vegetables because they're high right now.

The surge in grocery bills is being driven by the freeze last fall that damaged agricultural crops, higher energy prices including the increased cost of corn used not just for food but for ethanol: a heavily subsidized biofuel used to power vehicles.

But there is good news, according to San Diego Association of Regional Government's chief economist Marney Cox.

Cox : We do believe this is short-term. In the past, the agricultural sector within the nation as well as internationally has reacted to events like this by being able to pick up the supply by increasing the intensity of the farming by bringing other fields that are afoul online in order to produce the supply necessary in order to meet the rising demand.

For San Diegans, higher food prices is just one more strain on their wallets.

Cox : San Diego is a high cost of living area. It costs a lot for healthcare here. Food prices are relatively high when you compare us with the nation as a whole. Home prices are obviously very high, so it's more than just one area.

That reality has prompted Geoffrey Vanleeuwen to focus on looking for the best deals on the grocery store.

Vanleeuwen : It's just like anything nowadays, you've got to shop smart. You've got to use coupons. You've got to wait for the sales.

Analysts say that the current hike in food prices is the largest in 15 years.