By Chris Wright, News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Prices at the pump plunged a record 25% last month and many are wondering why food prices haven't followed suit.
Financial experts say prices will eventually drop, but cheap gas won't immediately translate to cheap food and shoppers need to be patient.
Phyllis Evans is a regular at Perry's Food Store. She says buying meat on a fixed income over the past year has been tough, but the price of some cuts has come down recently.
"We're retired and it hurt. But everything seems to be better than what it was," said Evans.
Store management has also noticed the price decline, particularly when it comes to sirloins. While the cost of many meats has yet to come down, Perry Isom believes 2009 will be a much better year than 2008.
"At some points, I think we were paying more for the next load of meats than we got out of the last load of meats," said Perry Isom of Perry's Food Store.
"That will be good for all consumers in this economy, because everyone is under stress," said Longbow CEO Jake Dollarhide.
Dollarhide says that stress may be reduced by plunging wholesale prices. They fell a record 2.8% in October.
Dollarhide attributes the drop largely to cheaper gas, which means cheaper transportation costs. He says lower wholesale prices should immediately translate to more affordable fresh products like meat, and in three to six months from now, more affordable groceries.
"If you read something in the Wall Street Journal or New York Times, don't expect it to happen immediately. It will happen over time," said Dollarhide.
Perry's Food Store says it is looking forward to charging customers less, and for the time being, it's owner is taking pride in marking down some of his products.
"I'm tickled to death. I hope they recognize it and notice it," said Perry Isom.
Dollarhide says there is a downside to lower food prices. Manufacturers may see their profits plummet, which may contribute to what some say is a deepening recession.