From the APP:
As Valentine’s Day approached, Lou Smith, the owner of Blend on Main in Manasquan, last week found the wholesale price of a 2-pound lobster was $39, nearly twice as much as it was before the pandemic.
The price increases, he said, don’t stop with lobster. Chicken, beef and anything made with flour is surging, too.
“Something had to give,” Smith said of the impact of rising prices on his restaurant. “So my sanity is first.”
Inflation has climbed at its highest rate in nearly 40 years, forcing New Jerseyans to dig deeper to pay for everything from cupcakes to automobiles.
The Consumer Price Index rose 7.5% from January 2021 to January 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported last week, the biggest annual gain since February 1982.
The CPI in New York City and Northern New Jersey, which includes Monmouth and Ocean counties, was tamer, rising 5.1% during the past 12 months, the agency said.
Still, the increases hit all sorts of items regionwide. Energy was up 28.5%; durable goods like furniture was up 17.2%; meat, poultry, fish and eggs were up 16%; and new vehicles were up 14.6%, according to BLS.
Business owners said they aren’t sure what to expect any given week. Food Circus, a Middletown-based company that owns five Super Foodtown supermarkets, recently was hit with higher prices for chicken cutlets, whole milk and mayonnaise, Lou Scaduto Jr., the company’s president, said.
And there are signs that the supply chain remains bottled up; the grocer ran into trouble getting deliveries of Gatorade and Capri Sun juice boxes, Scaduto said.
“Those costs have to be passed on; we can’t afford just to eat it,” Scaduto said last Wednesday. “I got another notice today just on Hellmann’s mayonnaise. It’s going up $10 a case for the 30-ounce jar. They are blaming it on oil. They can’t get the (cooking) oil to produce mayonnaise.”