Cost of Food Rising
This summer’s record-breaking heat is expected to drive up the price of your groceries, again. This year is the hottest ever recorded in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, whose records date to 1895. The drought is affecting this year’s corn crop, with the forecast for the corn crop to be down almost 30 percent. The drought is also impacting this year’s soybean and wheat crops.
Corn is a staple of processed foods and is in animal feed. Milk (and milk products: cheese, yogurt and butter), beef, chicken and pork are all expected to jump 5 to 6 percent next year. You can expect processed foods to cost more as well. That translates to an increase grocery bill of approximately $23 a week or about $100 a month for a family.
As with most price increases, it affects low-income families more. If you are living “paycheck to paycheck” this is not good news.
Tyler is shocked that the price of milk will go up!
For those who are trying to keep up with inflation, it can be overwhelming. For the poor, underemployed and unemployed this will feel like a “kick in the stomach” said Chris G. Christopher, senior principal economist at HIS, a consulting firm.
We need to rethink where we spend our food dollars. Americans have a history of eating junk food, which drives up the family food bill. There is no way around it, junk food may be filling, but it’s money down the drain. Not only will junk food bust your food budget, but it’s devoid of nutrition.
We live in a busy society. There is no getting around that. If you have a young family, you’re busy. If you work outside the home and have a young family, you’re even busier. We need to figure out how to make the most of our time to find ways to fit in cooking. If you can’t do that, there is no way to compensate for the coming rise in the cost of food.
First: Purchase Food at Its Cheapest
That means not only purchasing food in season, but purchase in bulk and on sale. A well-stocked pantry is one of the best ways to prepare for inflation. That way you are purchasing food on sale.
Always: Avoid Processed Foods
Processed foods are the most expensive way to eat. The more processed, the more expensive. Prepared chili in a can is more expensive, than plain canned beans. Plain canned beans are more expensive than dried beans.
Then: Make Time to Cook
There is really no other way to make your food dollars stretch, other than cooking from scratch. Not only is food made from real ingredients healthier, but it’s cheaper. Test out new recipes which require little or no meat, the most expensive ingredient. Rice and beans make a perfect protein. Try out new casserole recipes and make the ones your family loves part of your normal routine.