Food prices take a bite out of students’ budget

Gas prices are not the only financial burden students have. Food prices have skyrocketed in Tallahassee and some students are not pleased.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service, the national Consumer Price Index (CPI) for food increased four percent in 2007, the highest price increase since 1990.

The national price increase was projected for 5 to 6 percent. Students said they have felt the change and are trying to stay within their budget.

Monet Bradley, 22, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Deland, said the high food prices have affected her lifestyle.

“The rise of food has led me to eat at home more, versus going out to eat,” she said. “Unless a decrease has been put into effect, I will continue to practice saving my money while purchasing my food.”

Bradley said she now buys food at Wal-Mart instead of supermarkets like Publix and Winn-Dixie.

Greg Johnson, manager of Winn Dixie on West Tharpe Street, said he has witnessed the increase of food prices over the past year.

“Rice has gone up from 15 to 20 percent. Ground beef and other meats have gone up 35 percent,” he said.

The price of eggs rose from 99 cents to $2.19 a dozen within the past three months. Johnson said that the increase of food prices have not impacted the store employees’ payroll nor the store’s electrical bill or rental.

He also noticed the change in consumer behavior “Many customers are purchasing generic brand items rather than name brand,” he said.

Some students, like Norayshia Grooms a first-year business education student from Sanford, said FAMU’s cafeteria is her source of food.

When she does need groceries for the dorm, she has a preference.

“If I must go to the grocery store, I prefer to go to Wal-Mart,” she said. “They have the most reasonable prices.”

Two Wal-Marts in the area were contacted but each store said they could not disclose any information about food prices.

In order to alleviate pain at the grocery store, a person may apply for food stamps. According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, a person must be between the ages of 18 to 50. He or she must either receive income for a handicap or be a student attending college.