While workers in food preparation and service will benefit from a $15 California minimum wage, those higher labor cost won't necessarily be passed on to you with higher food prices at your local grocery store.
First, let's differentiate from restaurants and agriculture. In restaurants, wages are a big cost component, of course. But the breakdown of labor costs in agricultural production like meat and bread can be unexpectedly low.
And because most Americans eat more protein and carbs that have lower labor costs, compared to fruits and vegetables that have higher labor costs, the coming $15 hourly wage in California is expected to have a small net effect if at all on retail food prices.
"The fact is most of what people spend on food is not the labor intensive parts of food. They spend it on milk and cheese and meat and bread and things like that. And the labor costs there are much less than they are in strawberries, or fresh peaches," said Philip Martin, professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis.
"Most of the spending on food is actually on the less labor intensive parts of food. In something like wheat or for bread, the labor costs are approaching zero," said Martin, an expert in agricultural and resource economics.