Alexander Rappaport from Masbia Advises on how to Save on Food

Alexander Rappaport from Masbia Advises on how to Save on Food

By Yehudit Garmaise

Boro Park’s children are home from school and eating more meals at home this week than during the school year, however prices at grocery stores remain high, as inflation continues to surge.

To help readers get more for their money in the checkout aisle this summer, BoroPark24 spoke to Alexander Rappaport, Masbia’s executive director, to get some tips on making sure everyone’s cupboards are packed with healthy foods.

While consumers who see high prices in stores may blame store owners for trying to “rake in the bucks,” the blame for price gouging really belongs to food manufacturers, said Rappaport. “Customers should also pay attention to which vendors take care to keep prices as stable as possible.

The prices of KJ poultry, a big supplier for Masbia, for instance, Rappaport pointed out, have increased only occasionally and in small increments.

Rappaport’s best tip for educating consumers who want to get the best bang for their bucks is to focus on buying simpler foods that require the least amount of labor and shipping to get to store shelves. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the US has suffered a labor shortage because immigrants, who usually provide cheap labor, were not allowed into the country Rappaport pointed out.

Because labor and shipping are now scarce and expensive, price-conscious consumers should take care to avoid buying groceries, such as bread and other labor-intensive foods that require a lot of preparation and transportation.

“Anything fresh needs to be shipped constantly, which requires labor that hikes prices,” pointed out Rappaport. “Shelf-stable foods that require the least amount of labor to be ready-to-eat will be the cheapest right now.”

“For example?” BoroPark24 asked.

“If you are going to have a fancy, heimishe kokosh-cake from a bakery that needs a lot rolling and a lot of work that is going to be expensive because labor is expensive, but if you buy more basic and simpler foods, you will save more money,” said Rappaport, who added that machine-made cakes will be cheaper than those that are handmade.

Consumers’ lowest price option for bakery, of course, is to buy the raw ingredients and bake at home. 

“While the price of flour increased, the price of bread, which requires a lot of labor and shipping twice a week to get to stores, went up much more,” Rappaport pointed out.

The breakfast grains that cost the least will be those that require the least amount of processing, such as farina and oatmeal.

Plus, the avian flu continues to increase the prices of poultry and eggs, so consumers might want to consider eating foods that require the least amount of energy to produce, such as rice, beans, tofu, and vegetables.

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