Beyond Bread: How the Boro Park Community is Contending with Rising Food Prices

Beyond Bread: How the Boro Park Community is Contending with Rising Food Prices

The news seemed to have hit like a bolt of lightning on a sunny day—but, according to many, the writing has been on the wall for a while. 

The clippings from emails originating with some of our favorite kosher food brands informed the grocery owners that they were left with no choice but to increase their prices—citing the sharp rise in the cost of raw materials and ingredients to manufacture their products, logistics and transportation, and other factors. The images went viral, making their way to hundreds of heads of households who were left wondering how these developments will affect them. 

“We pass these increases right on to the consumer,” one grocery manager told Borpark24. “We could not swallow these increases and remain in business—our profit margins are too low.” 

With something this big affecting the community, we set out around the community to hear from various parties on how this situation is affecting them, and hopefully glean more insight. 

For a community with large families, ka”h, with food costs taking up a large part of families’ budget—not to mention Shabbosim, Yomim Tovim, and camp nosh… the  pinch is being felt. 

One Boro Park resident related how the writing had already been on the wall for a while: “At least since the Corona era. “I used to go into the pizza shop near my home… not anymore. The prices of prepared foods has risen astronomically. I can’t tell you why. When I purchased Erev Pesach Matzos this year, I paid 50% more than last year. The suppliers say that it’s due to a shortage—and they have been swallowing it for a long time.” 

Another father of a soon-to-be Bar Mitzvah bachur related: “I called the caterer, the same one I used two years ago, for my older son’s Bar Mitzvah. He gave me a per-couple price, the same as last time. But he added, ‘have you bought a slice of pizza recently? I don’t know why I am not raising my prices yet. I hope I break even.’” 

One camp director stated categorically: “Had I known about this increase when I set my camp prices, I would have raised it by a couple hundred dollars—on account of the food increase alone.” 

A salesman in the general (non-heimish brand) industry reports that, yes, he gets higher commissions for higher prices—but many items have been out of stock for months. A salesman in paper goods relates that a container from China has tripled in price in the last year. 

Our grocery manager points out that we are still in the easy stages of this crisis. “At the end of the day, there is still stimulus money, unemployment benefits, and other government handouts that are cushioning the blow. When people wake up in a year from now, when the loans will come due, and the extra money will have dried up, that is when it will really kick in.” He also wondered 

So where does this leave us? 

Where a Yid always goes when he feels pinched. He raises up his eyes Heavenward; does his best; davens again, and repeats the cycle. That is the only tried and true source of sustenance and salvation, and that is what will sustain the Boro Park residents of today, until the coming of Moshiach. 

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