We all know that food, meat, dairy and everything else we buy at the store is and has been going up.
What is new is the recent upswing in the commodity market and within a few months those price increases will translate into much higher food prices on our shelves.
The USDA economist, Ephraim Leibtag, at the agency’s annual Outlook Forum gave the bad news to those gathered there. The price increases may even reach 2008 levels he warned.
Right now the USDA is predicting a 3.5 percent increase in food prices for 2011. This places it at about twice the inflation rate for the year, but a bit less than the spike experienced in 2008. According to Reuters, food prices in 2008 rose 5.5 percent, the highest increase since 1990.
This cost increase is going to be across all food groups with the expectation of a 4 percent rise in meats, poultry, and fish; a 3.5 percent rise in fruits and vegetables; a 4 percent rise in cereals and bakery products; and a 3 percent increase in sugar and sweets.
These seemingly small amounts actually represent increases in individual food costs ranging from 20 to 60 percent over last year’s prices!
Now I don’t know about you, but that will be a staggering blow to my food budget. Cost are already increasing literally each time I go to the grocery store for almost everything I purchase every couple of weeks. To imagine how much more things could go up as predicted is making me sweat even as I write this article.
Judging from what they have predicted, food may go up an average of 30-40% for everything we purchase at the grocery store. Think about how that will impact what you can and can not buy for dinner.
What you will be able to buy is going to undergo some serious revision and the family is not going to be happy. The first things to go will likely be a lot of the processed snacks and the oh-so-good junk foods that we all have a guilty pleasure for. I admit it, I succumb to the temptation also even though I have gotten better in the last 5 years. But if prices go up that much, well I would rather have "food" to eat than that cheese puff snack that I like so well. There really will not be a choice.
And that brings the main point – with food prices raising that much, what we can purchase to make our meals is reduced and our choices limited even if we want to do better and this is going to have an impact on our health.
It means more one-dish meals, heavy on the pasta to stretch the meal as much as possible. Far fewer fresh fruits and vegetables, although that is already happening. When a single orange in my local grocery store is costing $0.45 each, I don’t buy too many of them – likewise other fresh fruits and many vegetables – they simply cost more than I can afford to spend in my food budget.
Food that goes farther, while filling, may not be the most nutritious and that is going to become a greater and greater problem. Without the building blocks and proper nutrients, our bodies will not be able to have a strong immune system and that opens us up to getting sick more than we could have if we could eat better.
This is a real round-robin - as the food prices go up – we eat more poorly – which makes us less healthy and opens the door to becoming sick. If we are sick, we eat even less well than usual and so on and so on.
If, as some predict, this continues to happen, then where will be all be in even a year from now? I don’t have the answer, but I am concerned about the possibilities.
We could do something about this if more farmland was put into production. Small problem with that however as we are losing small farms by the handful. According to stats from Farm Aid, a farming advocacy group, about 5 MILLION US family farms have been lost since the 1930′s.
Every week about 330 farmers leave their land, taken out of their livelihood by inflation, costs, and competition from large corporate farms that have the ear and the funding from our federal government. But they only produce certain "cash heavy" crops and have little interest in increasing the variety of foods like the small farmers do.
We all need to wake up and I mean right now and begin to do something about this problem. We can sit back and let it happen and it will continue to get worse. Then when we can not even afford to buy a loaf of bread at the store, we will look up and wonder what happened. We can change this and put as many small farms back into business as possible by making our representatives change the way farming is done in this country and replace those corporate farms with family farms.
It will be a major battle going up against the food industry and the large corporate food giants, but it is a battle that we must win if we are going to be able to feed our population and included in that population is YOU.
Get involved, get active, start making a difference right now because tomorrow is going to be too late. It takes time to get a farm up and producing and we may have very little time left to make any changes.
I would advise you to stock up on as much food as you can right now. It is a lot more important than that vacation you may be planning. Also be sure to have a supply of good vitamins and minerals and products like Dr. Josling’s Alligin to help us stay as healthy as we can.
This is exactly what I am doing right now and I am telling everyone I know to do the same. I hope you do too and are as prepared as you can be for the rest of this year and into the next.