High Inflation Has Changed the Way New Yorkers Buy Groceries

Photo: Jane Starr Drinkard

Jamie, 38, and Tito, 40, project manager for a sustainability communications agency; vice-president at a luxury retailer
Gala Fresh, Crown Heights

Jamie: We used to eat a lot more fish. That’s probably where it hit us hardest: Fish for dinner for two people is $60. We used to eat scallops maybe once a week, and we literally don’t eat scallops anymore. Because we work from home, food is our biggest expense aside from rent, so it’s kind of like, we eat well because we’re home anyway, so we want to eat good steak, good fish. But it does hurt.

Tito: You work hard, you have a career, and if there’s ever a thing you spend on, it’s food and not having to make hard choices. You’re not gonna go overboard and buy caviar every day, but if it’s salmon and the difference is $10 or $15, you’re just going to spend that money. It’s different for the big-ticket stuff, though. We’re living in a two-bedroom apartment, and we’ve been looking to buy a home since the beginning of the pandemic. But it’s like, do you want to look at getting a home with high interest rates and super-high down payments and all the costs that go into renovation and everything like that? And then having a baby and high food prices — all of that comes together — and can you make the numbers work without making yourself miserable? It’s like, okay, you’re old enough to feel like you should be able to afford salmon. And maybe you can even afford a home. But then the city reminds you that maybe you can get the salmon, but the home might be a thing that needs to be negotiated.

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