NYC: The Price of Food, Glorious Food

foodWhen Stop & Shop and Giant join up with the Food Lion parent company, a $29 billion grocer will be established. This will give the stores a far greater leverage vis-à-vis competing with food discount retailers like Wal-Mart, since it will become America’s fourth largest grocer.

The hope is that this would make the consumer happy. Which comes at a great time given that Whole Foods supermarkets have been accused of overcharging their customers by selling prepackaged meat, dairy and baked goods.   Indeed, according to Julie Menin, Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner, there was a fraudulent mark up of $14.94 on coconut shrimp, with chicken tenders being marked up by $4.85.

So the question is, will this mean that the newly established grocery store will help the consumer’s pocket at the end of the day? In some ways yes, but when it comes to fast-food restaurants, possibly not. Given that there is a strong likelihood that New York will be increasing minimum wage to $15 an hour, a staggering 72 percent of restaurant owners said that they would “very likely” increase food prices to the customer to counter this. A further 18 percent said they would be “somewhat likely” to follow suit.

So with some prices increasing and others decreasing, New Yorkers might ultimately be left in the same boat at the end of the day.