Rising food costs pounding shoppers’ wallets; ‘No choice’ but to increase prices: Goya CEO

Inflation won’t ‘get better until it gets worse’: Expert

CFRA chief investment strategist Sam Stovall argues consumer prices will peak in January 2022.

Goya CEO Bob Unanue told FOX Business he had "no choice," but to increase prices for goods as manufacturers and shoppers have been feeling the pinch of the rising cost of food due to supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and inflation.

Unanue stressed that inflation "touches everybody." 

"Costs are going up. Inflation is here to stay at least for a good while and everybody has these costs," he added. 

Unanue noted that prices for some Goya products shot up about 10% so far to account for higher input costs and warned that prices could continue to rise unless the problems ease. 

Renita Gary of New Jersey told FOX Business she has been spending more on groceries and, therefore, has been forced to cut back on buying other items. (FOX Business/Talia Kaplan )

At supermarkets across the country, some shoppers are feeling sticker shock as food prices continue to soar. Renita Gary of New Jersey said she’s been noticing higher prices on grocery store shelves and has changed her shopping habits. 

"I cut a lot of things out," she said. "I don’t even buy clothes like I used to." 

On Wednesday it was revealed that the consumer price index climbed 6.2% year over year in October, according to the Labor Department. The increase marked the largest annual gain since November 1990. 

Food price jumped .9% last month, which was the same increase as September, according to the Labor Department. The index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs continued to soar, increasing 1.7% in October following a 2.2% increase the month before. 

Several food companies, including Pepsi, Coca-Cola and General Mills, which produces cereal including Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cheerios, have been raising prices as they deal with higher costs as well as labor and transportation problems that are holding back key items from making it to grocery stores. 

Goya CEO Bob Unanue discusses the challenges his company is facing amid supply chain issues and labor shortages (FOX Business/Talia Kaplan )

Unanue told FOX Business that his company has been hit with higher costs for everything, including labor and materials. 

"We’re vertically integrated," he said, noting that his company makes their own cans and bottles.  

"The cost of all those packaging materials have gone way up," Unanue continued.  

CONSUMERS SEEING SOME FOOD PRICES GO ‘THROUGH THE ROOF,' GROCERY STORE CEO SAYS 

He noted that the increased cost for raw and packaging materials is a contributing reason as to why prices for some products increased this year.

"You've got to make a profit after your costs. If you don’t, then why are you in business?" he told FOX Business. 

"You can’t pay an employee, you can’t feed your kids," Unanue continued. "We’re consumers like everyone else and we can’t take it on the chin." 

Unanue said one of the biggest challenges has been the transportation of goods. 

"We bring products like coconut water from Thailand [and] from Vietnam and a container with about 1300 cases of coconut water in it used to cost about $1800, $1.40 a case; it’s gone up to $20,000 to get on a container ship if you can," he noted. 

Goya coconut water on a supermarket shelf (FOX Business/Talia Kaplan )

In addition to transportation issues, like many other companies, Goya has been struggling to secure trucks and staff warehouses as well as production facilities. 

"We are running with less people," Unanue said. "We are doing more with less."

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He noted that wages for warehouse and production workers have increased by about 70% since the onset of the pandemic.

"We have to keep people engaged," Unanue said. 

Goya CEO Bob Unanue says wages for warehouse and production workers have increased by about 70% since the onset of the pandemic (FOX Business/Talia Kaplan )

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He went on to say that he expects supply chain issues, and therefore higher prices, will stick around through 2022.

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