NEW YORK—Ah, the bacon, egg, and cheese. The classic bodega breakfast sandwich is a staple in many a New Yorker’s diet. It’s easy to make, easy to eat on the go and cheap—although not as cheap as it used to be.
To keep up with today’s levels of inflation due to the pandemic and Russia’s war with Ukraine, bodega owners are faced with no choice but to raise the prices of their famously low-priced breakfast sandwiches.
“Bacon, egg, and cheese—you can’t take that sandwich away,” said Francisco Marte, who owns a bodega in the Bronx. “That’s the favorite sandwich for the New Yorkers.”
Marte has had to increase prices on everything from sugar to potato chips—and the cost of his bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich is up from $2.50 to $4.50.
At the wholesale level, inflation climbed 11.3 percent in June compared with a year earlier, the U.S. Department of Labor reported. Producer prices have surged nearly 18 percent for goods and nearly 8 percent for services compared with June 2021.
“These things happen. And normally, in normal times, the supply chain is able to absorb some of that shock,” said Katie Denis, a spokesperson with the Consumer Brands Association, a trade group representing food, personal care, and cleaning companies. “Right now, there’s just no slack.”
Frances Rice, who stopped by Marte’s bodega for a bacon, egg, and cheese, says she’s trying to work out how to cope with less slack in her budget as prices rise. She says there’s always a silver lining.
“It means that I buy a good breakfast and stretch it to lunch and don’t eat again until I get home, which means I lose weight,” she said. “Got to look at the brighter side of things, because you know what? Either way, if you got to move, you’ve got to pay. If you’re hungry, you have to eat.”
By Robert Bumsted and Kiana Doyle