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Local Tampa farmers market saving buyers money at critical time

Grocery Store
Posted at 4:15 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 05:08:40-05

TAMPA, Fla — From gasoline to groceries, inflation continues to wreak havoc on the financial plans of shoppers across the Tampa Bay area. Thursday brought word that overall inflation was up 7.9% across the nation.

For shoppers in Tampa, it's left them looking for ways to try to squeeze all the value they can out of every dollar spent. Sanwa Farmers Market said it's trying to meet that demand with more affordable prices than its larger competitors.

Consumers are starting to notice.

I like it here because for one you can come early and they’re cheaper, to me they’re cheaper,” said Audrey Coggins, who was shopping with her family.

Chu Wagner agrees. She said she buys rice in bulk along with lots of vegetables.

“This is the cheapest place to come,” she said.

Andy Parikh, food and safety director at Sanwa said buying in bulk, like Chu mentioned, helps the prices stay lower.

“You have to understand the core of our business is we buy everything in bulk. We buy everything Truckload. We also buy directly from the suppliers and the growers within the state of Florida and out of state. So there is no middleman,” Parikh said.

Their trucks are shipped directly to their retail location which cuts out the need for a distribution center. John Lewis thinks it’s cheaper there too, it’s why we found him in the dairy section — but he said even prices here have gone up.

“It’s still a dramatic increase from what it used to be. I used to pay $10 or $11 for a pack of wings now they’re up to 20 bucks,” said Lewis.

It's not Lewis' imagination, the chicken prices are jumping. According to the latest consumer price index, chicken has gone up 13% since this time last year. The eggs Lewis stood by are up 2% in just the last month. Fruits and veggies are up too.

Nearly everything has seen an increase. Stress on the supply chain combined with growing demand has helped create a perfect storm to send prices skyrocketing.

“Because of the labor shortage, and obviously the pandemic, it affects the industry, it’s a snowball effect,” said Parikh. “So, suppliers are facing it, manufacturers are facing it, growers are facing it, and obviously we see those rises that go up and we have to make adjustments.”

The same issues have forced families to make changes too.

“There’s some things you’ve got to limit yourself, like things you like, you’ve got to just leave it alone because it’s too high,” said Coggins.

Lewis sells food and he said he’s had to change his menu items.

“When I sold seafood I had, I would buy the big 12 ounce grouper. Now when I do breakfast, I buy the four to six-ounce grouper. It’s a lesser cost and you’re still giving somebody a great meal for the price,” he said.