Food costs rise for Iowa State Fair vendors and attendees
Food and drink demand is expected to soar at the fair this year, but ingredients, supplies and staff are all in short supply.
Why it matters: You'll likely have to pay $1-2 more for your favorite foods as rising costs are passed to consumers.
- And don't expect all your favorite menu items to be there. We've heard it's hard to find everything from pickle spears to Corona.
For example: Cooking oil, a fried food staple, was difficult to track down, said Jada Smith, owner of Jada Concessions.
- When she found it, the cost for a case more than doubled from the last fair — $25 to $58.
- "It's outrageous and then the customers are mad at us because we have to raise our prices," Smith said.
Plus: Vendors were required to share their menus and lock-in prices earlier this summer. But they say prices fluctuate every week.
- Bryan Etchen, owner of Iowa Orchard, said he had to ask fair officials last week if he could raise his prices or risk not attending. (They obliged, he said.)
- Less than 20% of vendors have approached the fair asking to change their prices this year, according to officials.
The big picture: With SBA loans to pay back and pricier expenses, this year will be about staying afloat, said Helen Little of Campbell's Concessions.
- "Crazy is the only word I can come up with because it's almost like we just can't get our head around it yet," Little said.
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