Rising Food & Grocery Prices

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The week flew by in a blur-like state since returning home from Aruba.  The combination of almost 3 weeks away, let lag, returning home and starting work on a Friday last week, which is an odd day to start work again, all made this week seem surreal.

However, I’ve had a few great runs outdoors this week.

Palm trees and blue skyToday it was gray and overcast though.  May Gray & June Gloom it’s called here in San Diego.

I saw some pretty trees and flowers on my path.

green landscape and pink flowers

Pink flowers

Lots of juicy fruit has been consumed.

Oranges

Watermelon slices

As well as green salads

Salad with snap peas, cucumbers, and carrots

Dressed with homemade Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

Creamy Honey Mustard Dressing

And for snacks there have been always a few handfuls of these

Enjoy life semi-sweet chocolate mega chunks

And a few handfuls of Peanut Butter Chex Mix, i.e. Puppy Chow (Vegan, GF, No Bake, Easy & Fast)

Peanut Butter Chex Mix Puppy Chow

And I’ve washed it all down with Vanilla Iced Coffees

Vanilla Coffee in glassThese just hit the spot in the summer.   Or year round.

I don’t discriminate with coffee.  I’ve previously reviewed about 20 different types of coffee.

Speaking of coffee, I went to TJ’s yesterday to pick up some of my beloved “daily brew” coffee, Dark Sumatra.  For the price, and availability, and just all around, this is the coffee I reach for day in, day out, after I’ve tired of Smores Coffee or specialty brews which are fun here and there, but Sumatra is my daily workhorse.

Trader Joe's Dark Sumatra whole bean coffee

I noticed the price went up from $4.99 to $5.99. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s an almost 18% price increase.

I asked a TJ’s employee was I mistaken or did prices go up and she told me that yes, prices did indeed increase on coffee because there is a worldwide shortage of coffee from things like poor weather in the growing regions to more people worldwide drinking coffee to continued weakness in the Dollar.

All of these factors and more are driving up coffee prices and they are at a 34 year high.

Folgers also raised their coffee prices.

She also said that cocoa prices went up, too, for similar reasons.

From my last post, Eating the Rainbow Recipes, it was fun to hear what Rainbow colored foods are your favorites to eat and most everyone agreed that eating rainbow-colored foods found in nature just make you feel so much better.

Questions:

1. Have you noticed any grocery prices rising in your area?  Or any particular items that are now more expensive?

Jenn and I have discussed this a bit and so I know others are experiencing rising prices.

Hypothetically speaking…My musings, thoughts, and opinions only follow…

Imagine if your groceries, across the board, went up 18 to 20%.

That means that the $100 you used to spend for the week for your groceries, just turned into $120.  Are you making more?  Can you afford $120 instead of $100?  I don’t think anyone is getting a raise of 20% just to cover their possibly rising grocery bill.

But what if you couldn’t pay more for food.  You just don’t have the money.  Since you can’t pay more, you’ll just have to eat less. Cruel thinking, but let’s play out the example.

You only have $100 to spend, but now you are really getting about $80 dollars worth of food rather than the $100 you’re used to because of the increase in prices.  Are you going to make sure your kids eat first?  So will you be the one hungry?  Someone’s going to be hungry if you’re used to get x amount of food and now you’re getting x – 20 and you don’t have any extra income.

Or will you take on a second job?

20% is not a small amount for the average person or family to cover or absorb.  It doesn’t sound like much, here and there, but as a lump sum, it becomes very significant.  Imagine if prices did rise 20% across the board for groceries.  Or imagine if your auto insurance went up 20% or your mortgage payment suddenly went up 20%.   However, those things aren’t going up as fast as food prices are rising.

Have you noticed any rising food prices? Overall, you likely have.  Food prices have been, and continue to be, on the rise, overall.

3. How would this effect you and your life?

Would you eat less in general?

Would you eat at home more?  Less takeout?  Cook more?

Buy generic?

Part with the “I have to have organic” thoughts and buy whatever is cheapest? (this is what I frequently do)

Grow your own food? (this is not always cheap, easy, or effective.  Could you feed yourself with what you can grow on urban NYC on balcony or in rural North Dakota in January?  Didn’t think so.)

I have a post on Saving Money at the Grocery Store which has been a popular one and I give some of my real-life suggestions and tips.  How to feed a family and not go in debt is a real issue for so many.

Lots to think about with our food supply both in this country and worldwide and how this global picture translates and boils down to mom and pop and kid just trying to get dinner on the table and eat healthfully and affordably.  I still think you can eat the rainbow and not break the bank.

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts about this!  And again, my opinions only, my musings, and just my stop and say hmmm, thoughts of the day and in no way a complete commentary on this extremely complex topic.

P.S. Last reminder to enter my Coconut Oil Giveaway.  Winner announced Friday (next post).

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Comments

  1. With rising food prices, I believe thinking in terms of the most calories for each dollar you spend would be a good option. (I’m not talking twinkes or frito lay chips though). What I mean is you might buy unroasted raw peanuts to roast yourself, instead of buying expensive brazil nuts, cashews, almonds, pre-raosted nuts, etc. You would buy the conventional produce with the least of amount of pesticides (“the clean fifteen”), and the cheapest organic produce. You might start doing simple preparation at homes, that doesn’t take too much time, but compensates for the rising prices (like making your own pancake mix on Sundays for the week, for example).

    I think there are simple ways to still feed your family sufficiently– it just might involve the taking away goji berries and copious amounts of larabars (which you can make yourself with cheap ingredients, too– using different dried fruits, like raisins)!

  2. Those mega chunks were a HUGE hit at my house!

    And yes, grocery prices have risen in my area. And right at a time when my kids have hollow stomachs, too! *sigh*

  3. Grocery prices, gas prices, and house prices are all astronomical in my city. It is insane.

  4. My hubby’s raises are 2-5% at best…never enough to cover even the cost increase of toilet paper from year to year. :/ We have definitely noticed an increase in prices here — we’ve had to adjust our grocery budget to spend more, but this means that we are putting less into savings. We rarely eat takeout as it is (maybe once a month, and that’s with coupons and kids eat free nights, ha!) and our only debt is a student loan payment. We struggle with deciding exactly where to cut – should prices continue, our only option will be to actually eat less & pick up another job for more income. My 4 kids aren’t quite teenagers yet, but they’re close…I hope our paychecks can keep up with their appetities then.

  5. As a grad student, the price of groceries is definitely hitting me hard and I always feel guilty after leaving the store. However, I learned in some undergrad class that we spend less on groceries now, as a percentage of our total income, than we did several decades ago. So while prices seem high, they really wouldn’t be that bad if we spent less on cell phones/ipods, clothes, trips, etc. – things they didn’t spend much money on back in the day. In the early 20th century, say they spent 40% of their income on food (just making up #’s, but it was something like this), now we only spend 20% of our income on food.
    So I guess if we cut back on our “luxury” spending, groceries aren’t so bad.

    1. Your statement about spending less on groceries intrigued me, so I mathed ours out:
      Monthly, we spend approx. 25-30% of our income on groceries (also including toilet paper, laundry detergent, and other non-food essentials). From what I’ve read, that is quite high, even by today’s standard. I’m sifting through our budget to find some “luxury” funds to cut.

      1. Yes, that is high (although your #’s will be different because you added in other essentials). I think that’s a good thing though – it means you’re not using a lot of your money on non-essentials. I just did a little research and found this:
        http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/Data/table7.htm

        in 1929, we spent 23.4% of our income on food, and in 2008, only 9.6%. As a country, we spend the least on food than any other country, which could be because we’re spending more on non-essentials or maybe buying lower quality foods. Very interesting!

      2. Wow, that is huge drop in percentage! It makes me wonder also if families are spending more on dining out instead of groceries, too. Not us, but I’m sure that spending has increased as I have friends who eat takeout 7+ times a week! (My little big family of 6 barely eats out once a month.) One day, I’m going to sit with my receipts and total up just FOOD purchases — would be interesting to know. ;)

  6. its funny because I always see how American bloggers say the price of certain items and I’m like WOW that is so cheap! In Australia groceries are much much more expensive just overall in comparison to America- but I think perhaps that maybe our average wage is higher? Hence our average prices are higher- how I imagine it to be in Europe. In regards to particular price increases in Australia, since the cyclones in North Queensland (where our tropical fruits are produced) bananas have gone up to $14 a kilogram. Yep, it costs $6 for two smallish bananas. I LOVE bananas and used to have at least one a day…but since the price increase I went down to 1/2 a banana a day…and now I just can’t justify buying them anymore. It makes me very sad and apparently the prices are going to stay that way for 18 months :(. Getting used to it though!

  7. $2.19 is the new $1.99. Ticks me off, but it’s not surprising, with the rising gas prices and so forth.

    I’d cut back in other areas, namely entertainment. I rarely eat outside the home as it stands, so I’d find other areas to cut back on. Buying generic is something I already do pretty often; it helps. Organics only if they’re well priced and/or on sale. Downscaling portions helps, too. Luckily, it’s easy to do during the warm months. Heat kills (or at least dampens) my appetite.

  8. Great topic. I’m working at a family day event this weekend and one of the things we are offering is a make- your- own trail mix station for kids. I had a $50 budget to buy supplies for 100 kids and it was seriously difficult to purchase enough food while staying within the company’s nutrition guidelines and regulations. Definitely eye opening for me since I’m single and I buy/cook food for myself only!

  9. Grocery prices are INSANE. It makes me ANGRY that, often times, the HEALTHIER food (produce, organic/all natural dairy) is MORE expensive than conventional, processed food.

    Grrrrr…

    ;)

  10. The price increases are definitely a pain. So far, I haven’t really done anything different. We already don’t go out to eat and we already only buy the “dirty dozen” organically. It’s going to be rough if things get any worse, because we’re pretty much doing what we can!