MATTHEWS, N.C. — Rising prices for commodities like soybean oil could result in inflation of 5% to 6% for some supermarket items in the second half of the year, Fred Morganthall, president of Harris Teeter, said at a speech at North Carolina State University this week.
According to the Charlotte Observer newspaper, Morganthall’s remarks to students at N.C. State’s Poole College of Management addressed how the chain adjusted to the economic downturn by analyzing data from its frequent-shopper card and adjusting pricing of basic items that showed an increase, such as pot pies, frozen dinners, and macaroni and cheese.
“We were able to make our decisions pretty rapidly,” the paper quoted him as saying. “We had to concentrate not on dollar sales but unit sales — on customers and what they purchased.”
Morganthall said Harris Teeter was keeping an eye on commodity prices, including soybean oil: “It’s in salad dressing. It’s in dog food. Soybean oil is in probably a third of the consumables in our stores. … In the second half of the year, food prices based on grain could see a 5% to 6% increase. The question is how will the consumer react?”