Sticker shock at the grocery store

LOS ANGELES Shoppers know that it is more than the price of gasoline that has gone through the roof. Anything made from wheat has now reached premium prices.

"Prices are going up, particularly bread. Our costs are going up probably every few weeks," said Julius Graham, How's Market manager.

All one has to do is check the shelves because cereal prices have increased a $1.00 or more. Hot crust buns have also increased in cost.

Food inflation is back with a vengeance. Raul Porto of Porto's Bakery calls it a perfect storm.

"Every commodity that we use from eggs, butter, flower, sugar and coffee is straight up," said Raul Porto, bakery owner.

The reason for the inflation is complex. There is a strong demand for wheat and transportation cost are high. Farmers have switched from food grains to corn and soy beans to make ethanol.

Julien Bohbot owns a bakery on West Pico. He says something has to be done or neighborhood bakeries will be a thing of the past.

"People are not going to pay $25.00 a baguette or $30.00 for Challah for the next six months. Wheat is going up like 400 percent, it makes no sense. Someone has to do something about it. We are trying to protect our customers. Where are we going to go? We are a small mom and a pop bakery and we'll go out of business," said Bohbot.

Shoppers say that they are coping with the prices, but they do not like it.

"Well I've lived through inflation in the past so I have adjusted to it. In the 70s food prices took a terrific hike in a short amount of time. I am not surprised to see it happening," said Janet Nelson, a shopper.

Bakers have been told by their suppliers that this maybe only the beginning.


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