Inflation Scrambles Grille Prices

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Statistics according to CNN FoodPrice Report on August 10, 2022.

Jack Aaron, News Writer

   Inflation has crept into Trinity’s breakfast burrito. Senior Max Balon purchased a $4.75 breakfast burrito from The Grill every day last year and paid $855 over the course of the school year. If Balon keeps that up this year with the $5.50 dollar breakfast burrito, he will end up paying $135 more – for a total of nearly $1,000 by the end of the school year.

   Food prices in the past year have gone up for several reasons, including inflation and supply chain disruptions. The Grille  is being hit particularly hard by this instability. 

   “The other day I got aluminum foil for $98, normally it’s 45 bucks,” Food Director Christopher Behrens said. “My chicken has gotten up to $140 per 10-pound case.” 

   Food prices have increased all over the world. In the U.S., food prices as a whole have gone up 13.1% from August of 2021 to August of 2022. According to an August article in CNN, the price of bacon increased 9.2%, the price of fruits and vegetables increased by 9.3%, ground beef 9.7%, milk went up 15.6%, flour increased 22.7%, and eggs increased 38%. In contrast to these prices, from December of 2017 to December of 2018, food prices increased by a mere 1.6%.

   This current surge in food prices is forcing The Grille to increase its own prices. Behrens is making sure that the prices of The Grille’s food are staying consistent with the amount of money he is paying for the food.

   In addition to food, The Grille has seen an increase in the price of paper goods. According to a May article from the fresh produce industry newspaper The Packer, the price of paper has gone up 14%. This paper can be seen all over The Grille from the sheets of paper between bacon to the paper cups they supply. 

   “Coke cups, I can’t get them at all,” Behrens said. “The 21 ounce cups, they’re not available, so I had to get the plastic cups.” 

   Despite the higher costs, students and staff are still frequenting the Grille.

   “We’re busier than ever,” Behrens said. “We’re busier than ever because if you think about it you can eat here or try to go outside. So if you had your car, you drive to Tijuana Flats, they charge you twice as much as me, and then you’re going to drive gas, find a spot, grab your food, come back and try to find a spot again.”

   Despite this, some are still dealing with the cost increase. Ninth grader Dylan Daviduke purchases a breakfast burrito every morning, but because he has a fixed budget, he plans on buying fewer this year.

   “I have to reduce the amount of food I consume from The Grille because of the inflated prices,” Daviduke said. 

   Daviduke is among the many who have to compensate for the price surge, and it is unclear what effect this will have on The Grille. Morningstar’s head of U.S. economics, Preston Caldwell, said in an interview for CNBC that food prices will not start to drop until anywhere from 2023 through 2025.

   An annual tradition is now the next item to suffer from the current price surge. 

   “We won’t have Thanksgiving turkeys to get,” Behrens said. “Normally the head of school will buy turkeys for each staff member and give it away for Thanksgiving. We won’t be able to do that this year.”

   Even in this stressful environment with problems everywhere, Behrens is hoping to roll with the punches and keep The Grille afloat.

   “You live life on life’s terms, sometimes it’s how it is,” Behrens said. “It’s more of a headache for me to keep changing [the food prices], so I don’t. I raise what I have to raise a little bit, and left it at that.”