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Grocery Bill Set To Soar: Supermarket Boss Warns Families Face 8-10% Price Hikes

photo

Rupert Roberts

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Super Value’s president yesterday warned that consumers will have “a big pill” to swallow by Christmas, as he predicted that grocery and meat prices will increase by eight percent and 10-12 percent respectively.

Rupert Roberts told Tribune Business that a combination of increased demand, as the Bahamian and global economies continue to reflate following COVID-19, combined with soaring freight and trucking costs and other supply chain bottlenecks, were all feeding into increased food prices.

“It looks like by Christmas it’s going to be at least 8 percent, and possibly a 10 percent, increase,” he disclosed.

“It’s feeding in every day, and by the time we’re getting on to Christmas we’re going to have the full effect. Some grocery articles will be up in the vicinity of 8 percent, and meat and poultry probably by 10-12 percent. That’s a big pill....

“Freight and trucking costs are really playing hell with all of it. By October/November we’ll see things increasing up to 8-10 percent, which is beyond this country’s control. Just buy as you need and don’t over stock the pantry.”

Mr Roberts instructed Super Value’s buyers to “lock in all you can, even at higher prices, if you suspect they’re going to go higher. I thought Christmas would catch us by 5-8 percent higher, but it now looks more like 10-12 percent higher as the country opens up and the US gets back to normal”.

The Super Value chief, acknowledging that “prices continue to jump” as inflation continues to pick-up in many countries with the post-COVID reflation, took this newspaper on a tour of the supermarket chain’s buyers and suppliers to determine the extent of food costs increases in recent weeks.

While today’s visit from a US Meat Export Federation official is likely to shed more light on that market, pork prices - which also include chops, bacon, ham and ribs - were said to have risen by 10 percent in recent months and weeks. Steaks had increased by $1 percent, and beef prices have also “jumped 12 percent higher”.

Much of the increase has been attributed to the re-opening of the Bahamian, and global, hospitality and tourism industries. Hotels and restaurants are ramping up supplies as guest numbers increase, while the return of the cruise ship industry and its Nassau home porting has also caused a local demand rise.

Mr Roberts’ team reported that poultry prices have soared by as much as 18 percent, and the Super Value chief said previous tactics of switching to a different market when prices rose in another will not be successful this time as all agriculture-producing countries - the US, Canada, Brazil and Denmark - were experiencing cost surges at the same time.

Grits were said to have increased in price by 20 percent, while rising oil prices meant commodities such as margarine and cooking oils had jumped in cost by 15 percent and 8 percent, respectively. However, Mr Roberts said products such as milk will not see a significant increase as Super Value had managed to already lock-in long-term supplies at a fixed price.

“All of the [Christmas] hams and turkeys are locked at June’s price,” he added. “We’re locked and covered in hams and turkeys..... Half the stuff we have in stock, we have three months’ supply of, and only after that will we be faced with price increases. Corn beef is up by $5 a case, but I have 17,000 cases so I don’t have to worry about that for a couple of months.

“I’m not panicking. We have large stocks and shipments in at current prices. It’s going to be a little while before we have to pass the higher prices on to the public before Christmas. We have to put food on the table at the best possible price, and we work every day to do that. We’re good at it.

“Some things like chicken and poultry are already gone. Those prices have gone up in our advertising by ten cents a pound on chicken and poultry.” While no increase in rice prices has been “quoted”, Super Value expects that this staple will also rise. However, besides soaring trucking and freight costs, fruit and vegetable prices are forecast to largely escape at least for most of summer.

Philip Beneby, head of the Retail Grocers Association, told Tribune Business he “hadn’t heard anything” in relation to possible food price increases but acknowledged that the present climate was “conducive” to further cost pressures being imposed on Bahamian consumers.

Pointing out that wholesalers and retailers often had little choice but to pass such increases on, given that The Bahamas imports virtually all it consumes, he added: “If there’s going to be price increases in food and other items, I’m not surprised. The environment we’re in now is conducive for price increases.

“It’s not a good thing, and it’s not something we’d like to see but we have no control over it. We are a non-producing country. We have no control over price increases.” Mr Beneby said COVID-19 had caused supply chain bottlenecks as a result of some food processing plants having temporarily closed down due to health-related restrictions and positive cases.

“The cost is going to be passed on. What can we do?” he added. “That’s the way it is. If there are price increases coming I won’t be surprised. We’ll continue to pay attention in our purchasing and watch the prices. Whatever we can absorb we will, and whatever we cannot absorb we have to pass on. That’s just the way we do business; the nature of the business that we’re in.

“Over the next few months, the next half of the year, we’ll see what happens and do the best we can. Whatever we have to do to tighten our belts we have to do, and run the business as efficiently as we can and pass on as little as we can to the consumer. What we can’t absorb or digest ourselves, or we cannot keep, it has to be passed on.”

Comments

tribanon 7 months, 1 week ago

The devaluation of the Bahamian dollar is clearly underway. Pretty soon a ten dollar Bahamian bill (B$10) in your pocket will not be enough to buy a roll of toilet paper at a Super Value store.

The Minnis led FNM administration has played a major part in the transformation of The Bahamas into a nation of beggars. Many essential nutritional foods will soon be unaffordable for the vast majority of Bahamians and their families. This of course will have serious unfavourable health implications for our populace.

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pocoloo 7 months, 1 week ago

Y'all fear-mongers really need to stop with the asinine comments. Covid was not created by Minnis. You act like Super Value is the only store in this country with their high prices.

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ohdrap4 7 months, 1 week ago

He is referring to the FNM deal which guarantees 10% profit return to the port. Shipping fees are constantly rising.

This is just insult on top of covid injury. Papa made that so.

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benniesun 7 months, 1 week ago

@pocoloo - The signs of worldwide inflation and food shortages are everywhere. Even the UN issued a statement that we will experience famines of biblical proportions. https://globalnews.ca/news/7463318/un...">https://globalnews.ca/news/7463318/un... Everything seems to to happening in very slow motion so that the changes are not noticed - similar to the slow cooking of a frog. Welcome to the beginning of the new normal.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months ago

Did you read the article??? Mr Roberts is saying the high prices are due to increases in the cost of international shipping cists, completely out of our control. We import 90% of our food which means EVERY food supplier will have higher prices

@Tribanon is correct, higher prices mean you can buy less, it effectively means your dollar is worth less. its the very definition of inflation.

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Emilio26 7 months, 1 week ago

tribanon are you predicting that the Bahamian economy is gheaded for a total collapse to point of no return?

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ohdrap4 7 months, 1 week ago

Try to adapt folks.

I have not bought bacon in ages and, I make spaghetti sauce with chicken now.

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KapunkleUp 7 months, 1 week ago

You realize that is possibly a sign of the coming apocalypse.

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ohdrap4 7 months, 1 week ago

yes, that is why I have plenty flour, dry beans and dehydrated potatoes stocked.

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ThisIsOurs 7 months ago

not to mention Dr Minnis fulfilling the mark of the beast prophecy

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sage 7 months, 1 week ago

This is what happens when you cede control of a particular mark to one provider. A resonable government would have ordered this company to break up...as it is not in the public's interest for it to continue. But that would call for a government that cared for those whom they govern. his nearly fifty years....and I still waitin to see it.......smt

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M0J0 7 months, 1 week ago

one greedy cow is wa he is, the only man to make billions during the man made pandemic. They surely forget there is the Chinese shop all over, go up if you wish, watch your store reduce to selling everything discounted.

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bahamian242 7 months, 1 week ago

I don't think he realizes that there are Chinese just a block away from anyone of his stores! Cable Beach included!

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ThisIsOurs 7 months ago

did you guys read the article? This isnt super value deciding it needs more profits. He's says international costs of food and transportation are soaring. The chinese won't be exempt

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Millennial242 7 months, 1 week ago

LOL. YOU ...Sir... are hilarious and a gem of an icon in The Bahamas. First of all, I thought you retired. But secondly...you probably still have some influence in the way the prices at your store are going. Since we're six months away from this so-called expected price increase...instead of warning us of how it may be passed on...can your team assist with figuring out ways to ensure consumers aren't impacted (i.e., find ways to cut costs efficiently to counter the expected product price rises)?

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ThisIsOurs 7 months ago

how should he do that? open his own cheaper energy provider? fire 50% of staff? stop buying expensive meat and fruits?

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bahamian242 7 months, 1 week ago

As usual Rupert Robert with his bad news. If he can't give bad news for the day, its a Bad day for him!

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B_I_D___ 7 months ago

Freight costs and logistics are in a massive turmoil at the moment. While you may not like what you hear from Mr. Roberts, he speaks the truth...the price increase is not his doing...it all comes down to what the product cost landed after it has cleared customs. 8-10% may even be conservative. I guess the rising cost of plywood is his fault as well and totally not related to the global situation.

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bahamianson 7 months ago

the bahamas is in a bad place. Government is talking about increasing taxes, the cost of food and everything else continues to go up, now this. Can we take anymore? what is the point of living here with so much bad news on a daily bases. everything is so expensive.

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GodSpeed 7 months ago

One word. Inflation.

The US government printed a lot of money last year and the CPI has spiked. Forces beyond Rupert Roberts' control. Soon eating meat will be a luxury, if it isn't already.

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JokeyJack 7 months ago

I recommend people stock up on Vaseline.

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ohdrap4 7 months ago

Now that you mentioned it, there is actually a shortage.

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ohdrap4 7 months ago

No . Plenty goat pepper being sold at Montagu stop light.

Hottest pepper of them all.

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John 7 months ago

Ghost pepper is the hottest pepper.

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M0J0 7 months ago

the Bahamas is only in a bad place because the burden is always placed on the poor never the rich, how can you take from what has already been taken. Enforce collection of current taxes, before adding new taxes, taxes are not the way out but the way to dig a deeper hole. If there is no proper system for collection you can add taxes all day the problem will still remain as everything goes up but your salary.

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GodSpeed 7 months ago

That's the way it works, if you place a burden on the rich or make things difficult for them then they will leave. They can afford to leave and live where ever they want, the poor can't. When they leave things will get a whole lot worse.

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JokeyJack 7 months ago

Maybe you missed the article yesterday on the guy with 13 children. He needs a personal VAT rate of 75%.

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bahamianson 7 months ago

That is another story about why we are broke. people need a child limit on families. that guy had 13 children , and we have to pay for it. I heard about being your brother's keeper, but this is ridiculous. one cannot be a brother's keeper when these guys are having 10 children and are cropping out. they become the burden of the state, which is the tax payers.

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John 7 months ago

STOP hating...children are a blessing from God and most people in the Bible had many children. Some people's wombs are ordered and can only have none, one or two.

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DonAnthony 7 months ago

Who cares how many children people in the Bible had, completely irrelevant to the 21st century. Too many Bahamians having children they can not provide for, the children suffer and taxpayers foot the bill.

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John 7 months ago

Rupert Roberts did not mention the severe drought that is hitting the US and causing the loss of acres and acres of crop and livestock. This is where Bahamians have the opportunity to circumvent some of these inflationary costs by growing more crops and livestock locally. There is a difference between paying high costs for food and not having none available. At least this country has some rain. And Bamsi should be encouraging farmers. Prices may continue to rise into the middle of next year as there is more demand for goods and services. And for people attacking Rupert Roberts: he is only giving you a heads up on reality. The price increases will not originate in his stores. He will only be passing on the increases from his suppliers.

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Proguing 7 months ago

There is a big problem growing locally, theft. There is nothing you can do about it. Farmer Jones was sent to jail for defending himself and his property:

https://thenassauguardian.com/case-of...">https://thenassauguardian.com/case-of...

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John 7 months ago

imagine when they start to grow marijuana legally then,

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Bahamianbychoice 7 months ago

Yet the Government targets the fishing industry ensuring only certain few continue to be able to operate thus crippling the industry. I can only imagine that this has resulted from kickbacks as it certainly is not in the best interest of the Bahamian people to be an obstructionist to a pathway of a self sufficient food supply. To top this off an income tax is coming....

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bahamianson 7 months ago

Growing more crops and livestock locally? What utter nonsense! We go back to the elephant in the room. Haitians have taken over cowpen road. What is happening is, people are stealing the chickens, ducks, cows and the goats. One can speculate on whom is doing the stealing, but i have a good idea whom it is. You cannot have a.viable farming business unless you deal with the shanty towns.on cowpen road. It sounds.good to say , but it wont happen. Then, on top of that, i heard that the tractors that are supposed to be for farmers are used privately until they break down.

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John 7 months ago

obviously your mind is narrow and your thinking is shallow. who is to say that the farming is to be done here in new providence? there are numerous other islands that already have farming infrastructure in place. And the Haitians here in this country is like the Mexicans in America, Trump built a wall to shut them out, but they are essentially the backbone to the US agriculture industry. Last year when many refused to sneak cross the border to help with the harvesting, due to their fear of contracting COVID-19, thousands and thousands of acres of crops were un-harvested and were lost. Obviously you have aan agenda and prejudices.

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John 7 months ago

BTW the immigration agenda is the third strike in the US's war on black peoples dem.. First it was the FAKE war on drugs. Then it was the Gang wars instigated by the US various agencies. Now it is the war on immigration (immigrants) where the US is striking out at certain populations of immigrants and deporting persons who have been in that country since childhood. They now have children and grand kids but face the fear of being deported. Some to countries they have never been to in their lives. Of course Joe Biden has promised to temper this assault and allow more people in from South America, The Caribbean and Africa, but of course his powers ar proving to be limited,

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bahamianson 7 months ago

To be honest john, it isnt't a narrow mind, i didnt want to get that involved, but i tell you this, i am speaking from experience. All i mentioned, i lived through and lost money to thieves where it didnt.make any sense to invest money , time and sweat that most Bahamians males would not do.

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John 7 months ago

I honestly doubt you can tell athe root of a plant from its leaves. But it’s ok. You want to portray Bahamians S thieves. And no one can deny a lot of it goes on. It is the biggest unplanned expense in any retail business. It is probably the greatest advantage Amazon has over its competitors. But as was said earlier there are other islands available for farming on commercial scale

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John 7 months ago

Thieves and prostitution been around from the beginning of time.

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bahamianson 7 months ago

The police and the defense force , or at least the ones wjom are.not fleecing haitian shacks for money , maybe able to help us get some resolution the the cowpen road shanty towns.

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TalRussell 7 months ago

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SP 7 months ago

We are the 6th most expensive country in the world to live in. Come on Bahamas, we can be number 1!!

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juju 7 months ago

Mr Roberts please clean up your store facades! Do all of your storefronts look as terrible as the photo in this article? We all know that you can afford it.

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TalRussell 7 months ago

It should look aged because it's the original white sinuous, gas-filled plastic signage that hung on Deluxe Cleaners, Darville bothers Portion Control store that was located in Palmdale, adjustment to their dry cleaners...cleaned, patched and given paint makeover in the standard Super Value, blue, blue colours. treatment.
Yep, the thrifty Comrade Grocery Rupert is not known for being a throw-outer, yes?

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ohdrap4 7 months ago

By keeping it he keeps it out pf the landfill.

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John 7 months ago

Another thing that is driving up prices (at least in the US) is minimum wage. Businesses reopening are finding out they have to pay above $15 an hour to find workers. So even college students, teens and the least skilled workers can go home with $600 a week.And most of that is disposable income. Wages are expected to skyrocket even more when Biden starts his infrastructure rebuild. So that is why he wants to allow more (legal) immigration from Africa. The Caribbean and Souty America. $25 an hour will be like gold to most of these people.

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