It's Your Money

Jan 4, 2011 11:50 PM by Jeannette Hynes

Local grocery stores will weather Florida freeze, Texas drought

In Florida for the third time this month, farmers are forced to cover their crops with a cocoon of ice, trying to save the citrus. Texas is suffering from drought right now. Some areas haven't seen rain in 90 days.

"Mother nature dishes it out. We gotta do what we can to protect the crop," remarks Steve Lindsey, a citrus farmer in Florida.

Grocery stores are also doing some protection work to try to keep prices low.

"When this happens, what we try and do is look for other sources to supply products until production improves in the regions that were affected," explains Kelli McGannon, King Soopers Director of Public Affairs.

They'll go to places like California or Brazil, until the Florida and Texas crop picture becomes clear for the long-term.

"There's no reason to hoard or buy extra or less," comments Steve Oates, Director of Procurement for Sunflower Market. "We will shift and buy from another growing area or refuse to pay more."

For grocery stores, they say pricing is really more about supply and demand than regional freezes or droughts. If consumers don't want a certain kind of food, even with a small crop, the prices will stay low. Once the demand for something in short supply increases, the price will follow.

"We have to wait and see to understand the long-term ripple effect," says Kris Staaf, Safeway Director of Public Affairs. "We could see a little price increase, but demand isn't what it was even a week ago."

"I'm still going to get my orange juice," remarks a shopper.

Even if customers see a higher price, they have a bigger concern for their fruits and veggies. They want quality first.

"I look for firmness, color, bruising, size, then price," says another shopper.




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