Local Restaurants and Food Bank Impacted by National Rise in Food Prices

CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Consumer Price Index reports meat prices are up over 20 percent from a year ago. Food prices overall are up 6.4 percent.
And the Chattanooga Area Food Bank says more people than ever need food assistance.

“We’ve seen a spike in probably the last three months. We’ve had an increase in need. We’re still sitting at about one in six people in our region are facing hunger every day,” says Jennifer Fritts with the Chattanooga Area Food Bank. Serving 20 counties in the Tennessee Valley, the food bank offers free food to individuals in need, no questions asked.

“With the rise in costs in groceries, gas, it’s tightening household budgets. And so anything that increases a family’s costs will have a negative affect on their food budget,” says Fritts. And if you’ve seen a rise in meat prices at your local grocery store, it is not your imagination. Even local restaurants are feeling the pinch but thankfully there’s no sacrifice in quality even if the restaurant owners have to put in a little more work.

“With the brisket, we’re having to do a lot more of our own work based off the products that we’re getting, the amount of fat comes on it compared to the meat, we’re having to do a lot more cutting of that. And our ribs are a lot harder to get, for a good sized rib, because we don’t want to give a low quality product to our customers because that’s not who we are,” says Julie Crawford who owns Mimi’s Barbecue in Hixson.

Even the production of Styrofoam took a hit during the pandemic causing unexpected stocking problems within restaurants. “There’s a complete lack of it everywhere,” says Crawford. “Like with our Coca-cola cups, we can’t get any because they don’t have anything to make the Styrofoam. They just don’t have any to give us.”

If you live in Hamilton County, you can request an emergency food box from the Food Bank by calling 211.

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