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Rising prices on people's minds as they prepare for Fourth of July holiday

Shoppers looking for savings at farmers markets, butcher shops, to counter inflation
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Posted at 7:46 PM, Jul 03, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Shoppers and businesses at farmers markets or butcher shops say they’re saving money this Fourth of July season.

Inflation and high prices have impacted the food industry all year.

A recent study from the American Farm Bureau states prices are up 30% from five years ago for cheeseburgers, chicken breasts, potato chips, strawberries and ice cream.

“The prices have jumped up like crazy,” said Phoebe Wilson, a shopper Wednesday afternoon at the City Market's farmers market.

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Phoebe Wilson shops for produce at City Market.

Wilson was at the market with her kids, along with her friends and their children.

“I just went to Costco this morning and it was insanity,” Wilson said.

Other shoppers at the market, like Mary Kay Grout, ditched grocery stores years ago.

Grout says she's saved about $100 for each trip she would have made to a grocery store.

"You’re looking at spending like $10 on a pint of strawberries when I can get that here for like $2 or $3," she said. "My mom and dad, they were hard, go to the grocery store, get it done, and that’s it. But honestly, coming out here, it’s kind of changed everything."

Grout appreciates the opportunity to get healthy foods at a decent prices.

“You shouldn't have to pay ridiculous prices to eat healthy food,” she said. “This is the best place to get fruits and vegetables at a discounted rate and you get good quality.”

Quality is something Joe Bichelmeyer prides himself on having at his butcher shop, Bichelmeyer Meat Company, a family-owned business since 1946 in Kansas City, Kansas.

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Joe Bichelmeyer talks to a former employee, Kelly Nelson, and his family.

“The fact that we have good quality doesn't necessarily equate to higher prices,” Bichelmeyer said. “We are able to avoid a lot of middlemen in a lot of what we do, therefore our price point is at or near or even below in some cases what you can find at other sources.”

He says items like beef and steaks are priced higher due to inflation and he’s seen that have an effect on his customer's buying habits.

“Beef prices right now are at or near record highs, so it does create a bit of a difference in what people buy,” Bichelmeyer said. “They go to maybe from beef, or maybe not as much beef, to pork and chicken, more so because they’re more affordable proteins.”

But when the Fourth of July or any holiday comes around, demand is always high, he says.

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Staff at Bichelmeyer's prepares Fourth of July orders.

“We do prepare for them with an uptick in production and an uptick in employees that are here to serve the public,” Bichelmeyer said. “Being in business this long, we’ve learned to adjust and to prepare for the holidays and the demand our products will be under.”

As a former employee, Kelly Nelson knows what he’s getting when he goes to Bichelmeyer’s.

“Very good cuts, quality food and good hospitality,” Nelson said. “You don't find many butcher shops like this anymore.”

The shoppers KSHB 41 reporter Rachel Henderson met say they’re not sacrificing quantity for quality.

“Seeing like the blueberries, two for five dollars, and you get like all the blueberries and this kid eats so many blueberries,” Wilson said with a smile.

Grout said the high prices are a concern.

“I wouldn't be surprised if tomorrow people are spending $100 to $200 to feed their family and friends,” Grout said. “And that's just one day. Nobody should be breaking the bank for that.”