So the recent news that the price of wheat has tripled over a year, and that grain prices rose 25 percent in February, has many restaurant owners raising prices to make ends meet. Consumers are also wondering how far they'll have to dig into their pockets to feed their friends and family.
Perhaps nowhere is the impact of rising prices felt more than in stores that are dependent on wheat, like pizzerias and bread shops.
A recent survey found that some pizzerias around Hudson County are charging $2 or more for a plain slice, and at least three pizza shops in Hoboken said they now charge $3 for a plain slice.
Rising prices have resulted from recent droughts that cut supplies, and a high global demand. The weak dollar only makes a bad situation worse.
High grain prices have led to consumer panic in Asia and the Middle East, as well as recent "food riots" in various countries.
Here at home, consumers are also watching food costs rise along with gas prices.
"It's like, do I fill my tank, or do I fill my stomach?" Beth Tishman, a Jersey City resident, jokingly asked last week. "I still eat pizza, and I still eat out. But it's less now."
She noted that she tries to take lunch to work more often.
William Steadman of Weehawken said he, too, continues to eat pizza several times a month, but he now alternates between going to his favorite restaurant and another cheaper parlor.
"Now I'll go to [my favorite restaurant] twice a month," he said. "I go to the other place more 'cause they're cheaper. All the basics are more expensive. I try to save money where I can."
In Hoboken, three pizzerias said they are now charging a whopping $3 per slice. While one of those - the very popular Benny Tudino's on Washington Street - offers generous oversized slices, the other two shops only sell average sized slices for that price.
U.S. food prices rose 4 percent overall last year, according to the Dept. of Agriculture. Energy prices have also increased.
To comment on this story, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Some slices still less than $3
At least three pizzerias in Hoboken, when phoned last week, said they are selling plain slices of pizza for $3 each. Here is a sample of just some of the lower prices around Hudson County. Note: Prices are, of course, subject to change, and there are many more pizzerias to try. - E.A.W. Hoboken Pizza Newark Street Hoboken, NJ Plain cheese slice: $2.25 Roma Pizzeria Kennedy Blvd. North Bergen, NJ Plain cheese slice: $2.25 Stella's Pizza Grove Street Jersey City, NJ Plain cheese slice: $2 Plaza Pizza Dorigo Lane Secaucus, NJ Plain cheese slice: $2 Palermo Pizza & Italian Restaurant Broadway North Bergen, NJ Plain cheese slice: $2 Sal's Pizzeria Bergenline Avenue West New York, NJ Plain cheese slice: $1.95 Monetti's Pizza Hackensack Avenue Weehawken, NJ Plain cheese slice: $1.75 Three Boys from Italy Monmouth Street Jersey City, NJ Plain cheese slice: $1.75 Secaucus Pizza Front Street Secaucus, NJ Plain cheese slice: $1.50