CENTRAL COAST, Calif. (KION) Food prices are expected to increase, according to the U.S Department of Agriculture's Food Price Outlook.
From February 2021 to March 2021, the price of food increased by 0.2%. The report also stated that the price of food was 3.5% higher than in March 2020. Yet, grocery costs are expected to increase another one to two percent this year.
"We're used to spending a certain amount on groceries," said a Salinas resident. "But now since they're going up, I believe they're going to continue to go up, you know, it's going to be harder for families."
Ramon Escobar-Avila has been a Salinas resident for over 20 years. Food expenses are already high, he said. In fact, he's had to resort to food banks. Avila believes that the increase in food products will only worsen the crisis faced by several families due to the pandemic.
“It shouldn't be happening, not right now," said Avila. "We still haven't recovered yet. There are no jobs, and they are going to be increasing prices on basic needs. What's going to happen to us?"
According to the Department of Agriculture, a family that spends about $ 1,000 a month will now pay about $ 20 more.
Some markets like the Princesa Market in Salinas, said they do not want to lose customers, but because of this, they will have to increase their prices to pay rent and employees.
"We have responsibilities also in the store, and we have to survive," said Store Manager, Mostafa Hussien. "So in order for us to do that, we have to raise the prices//we are trying to not increase everything as high as you know what we supposed but just to a point where we could survive. Also, we care about the community and we want everything to be good."
According to the Monterey County Farm Bureau, the increase could be the result of all the additional expenses farmers have faced due to the pandemic. But other experts in agriculture are blaming the drought.