VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Grocery stores and restaurants are being forced to raise prices on many products. It’s inflation that one local expert says likely won’t go away this summer.
Robert M. McNab, Ph.D., professor of economics at Old Donation University, says, “We have seen increasing price levels as the U.S. economy has accelerated its recovery from the 2020 economic shock. Part of this is the impact of the pandemic on global supply chains, and part is pent-up demand from 2020 that has been forward shifted to 2021.”
Mark Malbon, the owner of Malbon Brothers Corner Mart BBQ and Catering in Virginia Beach, explained, “In 30-plus years, I’ve never seen it like this. It’s crazy.”
He added that he’s seeing an increase of about 25% to 35% price increase in many food products they purchase. Other items he’d like to buy are on backorder.
“We’ve definitely had to raise all our prices on everything we sell here,” stated Malbon.
Dr. McNab talked about the close tie between gas prices and food prices.
"So, when fuel prices increase globally, then that feeds through domestic supply chains. You get increasing costs at restaurants and retail establishments across the board.”
He says the price increase has a more profound effect on lower-income individuals.
“It's impacting the people who are most severely disrupted by the pandemic. So, you can think we've had shock after shock after shock, but those shocks haven't been evenly distributed. They've been really concentrated amongst African Americans and Hispanics, who tend to work more in industries adversely affected by the pandemic," McNab explained.
“The summer months are unlikely to bring any respite,” McNab suggests. “However, as global supply chains regain some semblance of normality in the fall/winter, I expect that inflation will moderate somewhat.”
Malbon says he’d like customers to know small businesses like his are dealing with both price increases and staffing shortages.
“Show a little love and a little patience until we get everything back up and going. I know it’s going on everywhere,” he said.