While food prices continue to rise, local producers and business owners are trying to keep costs as low as possible.
Earl Funk from Earl’s Meat Market in Steinbach says they have noticed fewer increases than many other businesses.
“Part of that is because we actually buy direct from farmers,” Funk says. “So, that does help us. There's no middleman to inflate items and there's less cost because it's only on a truck one time.”
He notes that while beef and pork prices are at an all-time high, they seem to be stable for now.
“But chicken seems to be going up,” says Funk. “There for a while, it seemed like every month or every other month we were getting notices that the price of chicken would be going up. There too, to keep the chicken prices as low as possible, we buy whole chickens and then we cut the parts up ourselves to try and minimize any effect that inflation would have on our pricing.”
Michael Schriemer, president at Schriemers Family Farm in Otterburne, says their input costs are increasing and that is having an impact on consumers.
“From a primary producer standpoint, we are seeing tremendous increases in our input costs, whether that comes from cardboard packaging, whether that comes in the form of fertilizer,” Schriemer says. “On our particular operation, we have not seen one cost that has not had an increase in the last six to eight months to a year. And some of those increases have been tremendous, to the tune of 200%.”
He says they do not think this trend is sustainable.
“So, what we've tried to do, to be a responsible producer, is that we've tried to absorb as many costs as we can,” says Schriemer. “Because we know that, like everybody else, people are on budgets. People can only afford so much. And there's not a lot of gain for us, at the end, if people can't afford to buy their food, period.”
Schriemer and Funk appreciate the support Manitobans are showing for local businesses, with people choosing to shop for local products, and for local stores to put local products on their shelves.
A number of factors are believed to play a role in the increase including extreme weather, higher input costs, Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and supply chain disruptions.
The price of regular gasoline is now 163.9 cents per litre at many stations in the city.
-With files from Shannon Dueck and Glenda-Lee Vossler