Everything from milk to steak to macaroni and cheese costs more at supermarkets these days. Food prices rose about 5% in the U.S. last year, the biggest jump since 1990, as emerging economies in Asia and elsewhere pushed up demand for meat and milk, which increased demand for grain to feed livestock.
Surplus grocers sell “closeouts,” which include products that manufacturers have discontinued, seasonal items that are outdated and goods that are near the date when manufacturers expect freshness to wane. Many such grocers also sell products that were damaged in transit but remain edible, such as a dented box of Cheerios. Prices tend to be significantly lower than those at conventional stores and big discounters like Wal-Mart Stores Inc.
One Store’s Old Food Is Others’ Bread and Butter
LEOLA, Pa. — When food prices began to jump last year, Dan McCauley started making weekly trips to SharpShopper, a no-frills discount store here that sells food makers’ surplus goods. On a recent weekday afternoon, the 50-year-old’s haul included two bags of Archway cookies for just $1 and two cases of vitamin water made by Kraft Foods Inc. for 25 cents a bottle.