Rising freight costs and severe weather have contributed to skyrocketing food prices in recent weeks. At the Food Depository, we face new challenges sourcing and distributing food. For example, in the past two weeks alone, the cost of bananas has gone up by 75%. Fresh fruits and vegetables are the foundation of a healthy diet, and the Food Depository is committed to supplying them every day. But the high cost of produce and the need for refrigerated storage makes it uniquely difficult.
Shortages of both trucks and certified drivers have made it more expensive to distribute donated food. Liz Gentile, who works on food acquisition at the Food Depository, says “This is where we are really hurting, as freight has increased so exponentially that it’s limiting the variety and number of loads we can bring in.”
A recent news story breaks down many of the factors contributing to the rising costs. Weather events like the “bomb cyclone” that closed roads throughout the eastern United States in January cause a chain of delays. New federal regulations reduce the length of time that drivers can be on the road. This increases prices for longer routes. Diesel fuel prices are also on the rise. “Literally every possible thing that could be going against a shipper is happening right now,” said Michael Redisch, a principal at Chicago-based freight broker Atomic Transport LLC, quoted in the article. At a local level, produce wholesalers like Anthony Marano Company and Testa Produce are facing increased costs, according to the Chicago Tribune.
At the Food Depository, we’re hiring CDL drivers to ensure that we can maintain our daily delivery routes. Our transportation and operations teams are dedicated to overcoming challenges and keeping pantry shelves stocked. Every day, our network of programs distributes an average of 200,000 pounds of food.