NewsLocal News


Bakeries across Kansas City work against inflation, try to expand customer base

Mr. D's Donut shop among bakery stores combatting inflation
Posted at 6:46 AM, Oct 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-26 07:46:32-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For business like Mr. D’s Donut Shop in Shawnee and Mattie’s Foods in Brookside, a rise in the price of ingredients is bringing unpredictability.

The latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicates common ingredients used in baked goods are some of the highest priced items on grocery store shelves.

Flour and prepared flour mixes saw a 24.2% increase this September compared to last September, eggs rose by 30.5%, butter and margarine saw a 32.2% increase and frozen bakery items saw a spike of 20.4%.

“Since the pandemic, prices skyrocketed, everything just went through the roof it's been crazy," Mr. D's owner Johnny Chen said. "We're fortunate enough to have a strong customer base loyal customers to come and support us."

Chen says suppliers continue to increase prices on items they need to run their business. 50 lb flour bags used to cost the family business $9 and are now $20. Eggs used to be no more than $2.50, they're now in the $3.75 range. Chen says if they were to pass down their costs to customers, they would need to sell donuts at $3 each.

“We just can’t do that,” Chen said. “Everyone is struggling, but we just try to eat up as much as we can and just want to provide affordable pricing, affordable donuts.”

They’re not the only ones dealing with the inflation pinch. Mattie’s Foods is a vegan restaurant and bakery store that opened in 2020. Owner India Pernell says egg substitutes used in their baked goods have seen a 100% increase, and flour, sugar and butter are also up for them or in low supply. They're trying to expand their reach by partnering with other business and selling their goods at various locations

“We’re adjusting and found some substitutes that were pretty good,” Pernnell said. ”Customers love it, so they can't even tell the difference.”

As a vegan restaurant, Pernell also believes her customer base will remain strong since vegan shops have continuously had to close throughout the metro.

“A lot of the vegans are still coming out to support because they don't want to have more shops close," Pernell said. "So for us, we're still getting the support, not as many people as it was at the beginning, but they're still coming because they know if you don't support use they won't have any option."

Grocery items may be increasing, but data also shows food at restaurants has seen a slower increase. Food families buy and cook at home overall has seen a 13% increase over the past year, while going out and eating at restaurants overall has seen an 8% increase, indicating that store prices have been more consistent than cooking from home.

“We buy in bulk quantities, so we were able to get some discount,” Chen said. “It is cheaper to just buy it from us.”