‘Rising cost of food is having significant impact on a wide range of our community’, charity
Rising costs mean shoppers are unable to afford high cost purchases at grocery stores and must decide what to leave on the shelves, a charity leader has warned.
Sandy De Silva, the executive director at Family Centre, said that fluctuating prices made it more difficult to budget for food.
She highlighted: “Many families can no longer shop for a normal week of grocery needs as well as for extra items needed for a family picnic or birthday party, for example.
“Families are having to choose what they spend their money on and what must be left on the shop shelves, because it is too difficult to afford both.”
Dr De Silva said: “The rising cost of food in Bermuda is having a significant impact on a wide range of our community.
“It is now commonplace to hear people talking about how expensive a bag of groceries is in Bermuda over a cup of coffee, on social media, and even with the supermarket cashiers themselves.
“We are hearing from the community that people need to shop for only what they need and leave the extras and high cost items behind.
“Unfortunately, often the high cost items are the ones most healthy for us.”
She explained: “The three highest costs items in a family’s budget are typically housing, utilities – especially electricity in Bermuda – and food.
“Housing and utilities tend to be fixed cost items, so families know how to budget for these bills; however, food bills seem to vary constantly and thus are often the most stressful to manage.”
Dr De Silva said: “Family Centre urges the controllers of food costs in Bermuda to look for alternatives to help reduce the cost of buying food so that families can feed themselves without unreasonable and unhealthy compromises.”
Zach Moniz, the manager of the Lindo’s Group of Companies, warned last month that inflation in the food sector was running at about 8 per cent.
According to the Department of Statistics, food prices in March were 4.9 per cent higher than a year earlier.
Mr Moniz said that supermarkets stockpiled inventory and bought when prices were cheaper, but stocks were depleted and the latest supplies were shipped in “at new inflated costs”.
The most recent Consumer Price Index, from March, showed that some meat product prices increased by almost 30 per cent with other items such as lettuce going up by 20 per cent in the past year as they could not be stockpiled.
Narrative Research Bermuda found in a survey that 62 per cent of respondents said they needed to budget for food more closely as a result of rising food costs.
A spokesman added: “Another four in ten (42 per cent) indicate that they must change what food they are purchasing, while one third (34 per cent) are obliged to purchase less food as a result of the higher costs.”
He said that 17 per cent of respondents said that they bought less healthy options.