SOUTH MISSISSIPPI (WLOX) - Grocery store customers are beginning to notice groceries aren't quite as cheap as they used to be. According to food distributors on the coast, produce prices have skyrocketed.
"Nobody likes prices going up," said shopper Rose McVeith.
Shoppers like McVeith and Georgia Hoffer aren't happy with the rising costs, but understand it may be unavoidable.
"I don't think they can control it. You know, we can't even control Congress," said Hoffer.
Before produce hits the shelves, it goes through a distributor. Even though Gulf Coast Produce mostly specializes in dealing with food services, officials say prices are going up everywhere.
Vice President of Operations Beau Blalock believes it's a result of what he calls a perfect storm of conditions.
"For whatever reason, product's being held up by customs at the port of New Jersey," said Blalock.
And that's just part of the trifecta. The Port of New York and New Jersey is where Blalock says much of the produce coming from South America is shipped.
Additionally, another passage point for fresh goods is also seeing issues.
"There's a strike going on at the border of Mexico where, again, a lot of product comes right now," added Blalock.
In addition to existing complications, Blalock says El Nino hasn't helped the supply. California's weather hasn't been favorable for crops, and neither has Florida's.
"All that's been flooded out compounded with cold temperatures unseasonable down there so prices on the stuff you'd buy in the supermarket have definitely escalated," said Blalock.
Produce such as corn, peppers, squash, pineapples and many others are doubling in price on the distribution side of things, according to Blalock, who adds that there's not much that can be done to lower the prices.
However, waiting it out doesn't keep customers from hoping for something cheaper.
"Somebody's got to bite the bullet. Why does it always have to be us?" questioned Dennis Johnson.
Until prices come down, Blalock suggests that shoppers should simply be prepared to pay a little more at the register. Blalock believes the prices should start to fall by February.