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Rising grocery prices ‘painful to watch’

Monitoring prices: Holly Dietz’s Facebook page Island Price Hikes and Deals has been receiving increased attention (Photograph supplied)

Rising food prices in Bermuda are bringing new attention to a local Facebook site first set up to fight the sugar tax.

“In the last month, I have had an influx of people wanting to join the group, and people adding their friends to the group,” said Holly Dietz, founder of the Island Price Hikes and Deals Facebook page.

The group has more than 5,600 members.

Mixed among discussions of price rises for some items are flyers relating to deals and discounts. Many of them relate to grocery items, but there is also news of vendor markets and discounts on services such as house cleaning.

Some of the information is sent by grocery stores themselves.

“The English Market in the Washington Mall posts a lot,” Ms Dietz said. “MarketPlace does their weekly deals every week.”

She also finds information simply by scrolling through Facebook.

“I think I have triggered the algorithm now, and information about sales just tends to pop up in my Facebook,” she said.

The group is a good sounding board for how the community is feeling about the growing cost of living. One discussion this month on the price of coffee spawned more than 30 comments.

“Everything seems to have skyrocketed,” one poster wrote. “Sometimes you have to shop around to get the best price as MP is not the only option as their prices seem to be higher than Lindo’s for quite a few items.”

In January, the price of eggs was a hot topic. American eggs have shot up by 70 per cent in the last year.

One member wrote: “Some of our prices are ridiculous. Sorry, but sometimes I have to leave things on the shelf as the pocket is only so deep.”

Another member responded saying the price of things seemed to shift daily.

“Go there Monday one price,” she said. “Saturday skyrocketed. It’s so painful to watch.”

Ms Dietz, a mother of two, depends heavily on the deals herself. When she sees specials in the grocery stores, she fills up her freezer with items such as meat.

“That is how I get by,” she said. “I don’t think the bulk-buying stores are worth it. This is something talked about in my group. Everyone knows bulk buying is not necessarily cheaper. You may save a little bit, but it depends on how much of the item you really need.”

Ms Dietz told The Royal Gazette that everyone is hurting.

“The middle class is pretty much all but gone at this point,” she said. “If you have money, it does not go very far. Even if you had a million dollars, that would be gone before you knew it.”

She first set up the group in 2018 after the first stage of the sugar tax was implemented. She hoped that members might convince the Government not to go through with the second stage.

The initial idea was to post information about price increases caused by the sugar tax.

She is disappointed that the group had no discernible impact on the sugar tax.

“How much worse are things going to get?” she said.

Ms Dietz said the Government did not seem to be listening, even though there were many members of the group who were themselves civil servants.

“There are a lot of government people in my group,” she said. “I see them because I have to approve every request to join the group. And yet it has been crickets from the Government for five years.”

Her hope is that the group is having a positive impact by helping people to save a little money while shopping.

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Published March 30, 2023 at 7:37 am (Updated March 31, 2023 at 9:22 am)

Rising grocery prices ‘painful to watch’

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