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I live in Hawaii, where grocery prices have always blown my mind — but take a look at what inflation has done

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee posing for a picture in Hawaii with palm trees behind her.Lee moved to Hawaii two years ago and was shocked by grocery store prices.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

  • Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee moved to Hawaii in 2021 and was shocked by the prices.
  • She visited two grocery stores and found that inflation has send some food prices even higher, but not all.
  • At Safeway, for instance, a dozen large eggs cost $8.50 — a $4 increase from last year — but beer was cheaper.
Two years ago, I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii to learn more about where my father grew up and explore my native Hawaiian identity.Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee posing for a picture in Hawaii with palm trees behind her.Lee at Lokea Farms, a locally-owned family farm in Haleiwa (North Shore) in O’ahu.

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Having previously lived in big cities like Chicago and New York City, I wasn’t completely surprised by restaurant prices in Hawaii. But the grocery-store prices blew my mind.Produce display at Foodland.Produce display at Safeway grocery store.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

The state of Hawaii has imported more than 80% of its food for decades, so prices have always been high, but inflation has reared its ugly face in paradise.Image of a grocery store aisle.Imported foods typically have higher prices.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Source: Civil Beat

Global inflation was set to reach 8.8% in 2022, compared to 4.7% in 2021. This year, forecasters predict it will decrease slightly to 6.5%.Shoppers purchasing groceries.Shoppers purchasing groceries.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Source: International Monetary Fund

To see how inflation is playing out in grocery stores, I visited two popular grocers: Foodland, a popular local chain; and Safeway, which can be found in 18 states.Safeway and Foodland grocery stores.Safeway and Foodland grocery stores.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Source: Foodland, Safeway

I compared current grocery store prices against February 2022 figures from Numbeo, a database where users from around the world share costs-of-living.Inside the Safeway grocery store.Inside the Safeway grocery store.

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Source: Numbeo

In 2022, one gallon of milk was $6.77. Today, it’s regularly priced at about $9 and can be purchased on sale for $7.80 at Foodland.Gallons of milk in the store.Milk prices have increased by at least $1.

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Safeway’s milk is actually cheaper at $7.50, but it still costs almost $1 more than it did in 2022.Milk for sale at Safeway.Milk for sale at Safeway.

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In February 2022, a dozen eggs were $4.50. One year later and the sale price has almost doubled to $8.30 at Foodland.Eggs for sale at Foodland.A dozen eggs for sale at Foodlands.

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Safeway carries a dozen large eggs for $8.50 — a $4 increase from 2022.Eggs at the Safeway grocery store.A dozen large eggs at the Safeway grocery store.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Last year, the price of apples ranged from $2 to $4. During this specific trip to Foodland, red delicious apples were about $3.Red delicious apples at the Foodland grocery store.Red delicious apples.

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Safeway’s red and yellow delicious apples go for about $2 a pound, which is comparable to prices from 2022.Safeway grocery store apple aisle.The apple aisle at Safeway.

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Safeway had a variety of other apples selling at cheaper prices, but the honeycrisp apples were about $5 per pound, which is typical for that type of apple.Honeycrisp apples at Safeway.Honeycrisp apples at Safeway.

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Source: Tasting Table

Bananas seem to be inflation-resistant. In 2022, they cost about $1.80. Now, Foodland sells them for even less at $1.40 a pound.Bananas at Foodland.Bananas at Foodland.

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At Safeway bananas cost about $1.50 a pound — 30 cents cheaper than 2022.Bananas at Safeway.Bananas at Safeway.

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Local tomatoes at Foodland start at around $3 a pound, which is cheaper than the $3.24 price from 2022.Local tomatoes at the Foodland grocery store.Local tomatoes at the grocery store.

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However, tomato prices can run all the way up to $6 a pound.Tomatoes at Foodland.Tomatoes at Foodland.

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At Safeway, tomatoes range from $4 to $4.50 a pound, up to $1.50 more than they cost in 2022.Tomato display at Safeway.Tomato display at Safeway.

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A half-liter of domestic beer cost about $3.50 in 2022, but Foodland sells each one for about $4.00.Coors and Bud Light sold at Foodland.Coors and Bud Light beer sold at Foodland.

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At Safeway, however, beer costs about $3 a can, and members can purchase it for as little as $2.50 — a whole dollar cheaper than in 2022.Beer on the shelf at Safeway.Beer on the shelf at Safeway.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Behold this watermelon being sold for about $1.60 a pound at Foodland. I couldn’t find how much it cost in 2022, but this is a hefty price regardless.Watermelon display at Foodland.Watermelon display at Foodland.

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It’s not a large watermelon — just 7.5 pounds. Nevertheless, it costs around $12.A watermelon placed on a scale.A 7-pound watermelon costs over $10 at Foodland.

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Safeway is selling these for what counts as a steal — about $7 each.Watermelon display at Safeway.Watermelon display at Safeway.

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At Foodland, bread is regularly priced at $5.90 (though you can get it for $1.20 cheaper with a club card) and goes up depending on the brand. In 2022 it cost $5.24.Bread at the Foodland grocery store.Bread at the Foodland grocery store.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Safeway sells its sliced white bread for $5.19 or five cents cheaper than the previous year.Bread display at Safeway.Bread display at Safeway.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

A head of lettuce was $3.86 in 2022. Right now, Foodland has it for about $4 per pound.Lettuce display at Foodland grocery store.Lettuce display at Foodland grocery store.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Safeway is definitely cheaper at about $3.30 per pound, but the price is still kind of discouraging for people who try to eat healthy.Lettuce heads at Safeway.Lettuce heads at Safeway.

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During the first quarter of 2022, retail sales increased 26% from the previous year’s sales, though Hawaii Public Radio noted this was likely due to inflation.The self-checkout aisle at Safeway.The self-checkout aisle at Safeway.

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Source: Hawaii Public Radio

By October 2022, Hawaii’s minimum wage increased from $10.10 to $12 an hour, but the staggering cost of groceries still makes it harder to manage money.Grocery store worker stocking produce at Foodland.Grocery store worker stocking produce at Safeway.

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Source: Department of Labor and Industrial Relations

It’s probably not a good idea, but I try to avoid looking at how much I spend on groceries — during this grocery store visit, I winced multiple times.Inside a Hawaiian grocery store.Inside a Hawaiian grocery store.

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But all is not lost. Local lawmakers are exploring new subsidies to improve food sustainability for the state to become more independent.Local tomatoes at the Foodland grocery store.Local tomatoes at Foodland.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Source: Civil Beat

Still, more native Hawaiians are living outside of the state than in it, due to high rent and food prices. If things don’t change, I’m worried that even more Hawaiians will continue to leave the generational home they love.Morgan and friends on the island.Lee and friends making a traditional Hawaiian food called pa’i ‘ai, which is made from taro.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

Source: Star Advertiser

I hope economists and lawmakers around the world continue to prioritize slowing inflation, but there’s also much to be done about Hawaii’s generally high food cost.Produce aisle at Foodland.Produce aisle at Foodland.

Morgan Pōmaikaʻi Lee/Insider

                                     

Read the original article on Business Insider