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Jul 6, 2011 11:44 PM

Rising food costs. Is it changing the way you eat?

Whether we like to admit it or not...rising food costs are a real problems for not just 'chowhounds'
but everyone.

Do you have any cost saving measures you want to pass on?

Or any thing that you have to add to a discussion about food costs?


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  1. Yep, I've pretty much stopped buying beef. I can't bring myself to pay 8$/lb for beef when chicken and pork can be had for around a dollar.

    My animal protein consumption now basically consists of pork shoulder and chicken. For greens, kale is a great choice at around 1$/lb fresh and frozen spinach is also around 1$/lb.

    9 Replies
    1. re: joonjoon

      ...huh. i continue to pay less than 3dollars per pound of good lean ground beef at costco.
      your greens prices are much lower than mine (including frozen)

      1. re: Chowrin

        Ground beef can be had for mid-2 dollars at Costco as well as Wegmans but I'm talking about choicer cuts. Steak prices even in Costco or "club" packs are starting to hit 7 bucks now.

        1. re: joonjoon

          Those prices wil go down after summer. Everything is cyclic.

          1. re: Cathy

            I have a phobia about costco and other "big box" store ground beef.

            I buy mine from a local butcher, and by that I mean the cows live and die down the road from me, on 50 acers of sunny land, no agriculture pens ever, no "red paste" in his meat, and no hormones,. Lean ground from Mr. B is $11 a kg about $6 a pound, but soo worth it.

            Less meat more quality. I believe this type of shopping will bring a better balance and recovery to our ecomomy than deserting local growers for big agribusiness.

            1. re: Luna2372

              you are lucky that is available. for a great many of us that is not a choice and no matter what store we buy meat, it could have come from almost anywhere.

              1. re: KaimukiMan

                Omg..I do know how lucky I am. We have amazing producers of lamb, chicken and beef here in the Gulf Islands. But..for 8 months of the years..fruit and veg are all shipped in for a HUGE cost. $1 ears of corn, $7 watermelons and just amazing prices on regular veg.

                But again, it is hard not to go to the big box stores....and pay less that half the price.

                1. re: Luna2372

                  i'm lucky when i can get an ear of corn for a dollar, and thats island corn (at the farmers market.) $7 is what walmart and costco were selling watermellons for on 4th of july weekend. found one at the farmers market for $4. Living on an island can be great, but.... LOL

                  1. re: KaimukiMan

                    We visited Kauai'i and Hawai'i in IS VERY EXPENSIVE to eat on all of the Hawaiian islands (but SO very much worth the visit!!! Will NEVER forget Waipio Valley/Falls and Waimea Canyon...I cried over how beautiful they were! I could not believe what I was looking at!)

              2. re: Luna2372

                A little late reading your post, but I saw grass-fed hamburger beef today for the first time at Costco, Winchester, VA. I'm sorry I didn't pay attention to the price, as I have grass-fed hamburger in my freezer from a local farmer.

                I do see that at another farm he is selling grass-fed hamburger for $4.50 lb., near Winchester, VA.

      2. Like joonjoon, I tend to stick with chicken and pork unless it's a special occasion or there's a great deal on beef and seafood. Tilapia and catfish, however, are always available at very reasonable prices here, so I use them quite a bit as well.

        I'm really big into buying and breaking down a whole chicken - I get stock, chicharrones, 2.5 to 3 pounds of chicken meat, 2 or 3 meals for our little Doxie off the stock bones. That chicken is literally a pile of stripped bones by the time I'm done with it.

        Seasonal produce is usually less expensive than non, and dry goods like beans and grains also stretch the dollar quite a bit.

        And I think there's something to simply buying less. I find that I'm more apt to make use of everything in the fridge and cupboards if I'm not overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and variety of what's in them. This also prevents spoilage and waste.

        9 Replies
        1. re: inaplasticcup

          "And I think there's something to simply buying less." <-- I couldn't agree more. It's better for my waistline and sanity as well as my pocketbook just to buy less!

          OP: Unless it's a special occasion, I only buy meat when it's on sale, and my meat purchasing tends toward the ground beef and whole chickens end of the spectrum even in the best of times. I just splurged on a pound of ground lamb at $8/lb, but it'll feed six people when made into burgers (stretched with spinach, feta, and rice) for a friend's birthday cookout, so I don't feel a bit guilty about it. But generally, if it can't be had for under $4.50/lb, it's not in my kitchen.

          You know where I haven't seen prices shoot up, believe it or not? My local Whole Foods. I was just remarking on the fact that meat prices at the regular grocery stores in my area are approaching WF levels, but WF prices aren't going up accordingly. It's the darndest thing. I have seen some of their prices go up (on sugar and dairy, off the top of my head), but by ~5%, not 50%.

          1. re: LauraGrace

            At their price points, particularly on meats and produce, I don't think WF could sustain major price increases in this economy. :|

          2. re: inaplasticcup

            You have a doxie too inaplasticcup! I knew you were a hound after my own heart. Just when I started really worrying about food expenses my friend invited me to give raw vegan a shot with him this summer. I still "cheat" once in awhile but I've been saving time and money by mostly sticking to raw fruit and veggies. I haven't had much meat in awhile (although I'm planning on having some this weekend) and I've been enjoying the simplicity of this diet, as well as the other benefits. My friend and I went to Costco yesterday and got a lovely huge watermelon and a big container of grapes. But some meat ended up in my cart. Two organic chickens for my two dogs. And some organic eggs for them too. At my friend's urging, I fed my little doxie a whole raw organic chicken leg today. She took her time eating it and really loved it. Later the Jack Russel Terrier got his raw chicken goodness. I'll let you know how this works out for both me and my doggies. My friend did a lot of research on the raw diet for dogs and humans and everything is going well so far.

            1. re: givemecarbs

              LOL, carbs. I remember reading your other thread about raw veganism and thinking for 2.5 seconds you weren't really gonna do it. I guess I'm so married to my omnivore diet that I projected. Congratulations for trying something new and, in my mind, more than a little challenging! I'm glad to hear you're experiencing health benefits too.

              Please do report back on the raw diet for the pooches. I'm very interested to find out how that affects them longer term.

              To our, and our pooches', health! :)

              P.S. Doxies are the bees knees.

              1. re: inaplasticcup

                Another proud doxie owner here! I have 2 long hair, full size hounds who adore the scraps from a soup pot or leftover chicken meat. We will have to share some doggie-friendly recipes.

                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                  I think that's a great idea, Diane, so I started a thread about it here:


                  Can't wait to read about what everyone feeds their four legged friends. :)

                2. re: inaplasticcup

                  He he inaplasticcup! I fell under the doxie spell many years ago and they have dominated my life ever since. They are true chow hounds! I may be imagining it but her coat already seems silkier. The mainstay of my raw diet is green smoothies. I don't know how well I would do without them as everything else takes so long to eat. Things are easy now, with watermelon, cantelopes, etc. in season and tasty. Guess I'll not look too far ahead and deal with the cold weather when it comes. I'll head over to the new post to see what you and Diane have to say. Doxies Forever!!!!

                3. re: givemecarbs

                  My dogs LOVE raw. I am usually able to get all natural locally grown chickens for about a dollar a pound at my local QFC, so that's what they get the most of. But my 2 80lb dogs go through a chicken each day, so my food bill for them is at least $35 at week, but usually a wee bit more when I add in extras like veggies, eggs, sour cream, red meat, and organs. The health benefits are great though. My pitt/malamute mix almost died of renal failure after tracking down a lost bottle of ibuprofen a few years ago and he is in EXCELLENT health now, and both pooches have very healthy teeth.

              2. I will miss eating lamb and veal chops. I pulled a package of frozen shoulder lamb chops from a few months out for dinner last night. They were $4.99/lb and today they are $8.99/lb., double the price in a couple of months. I only buy beef when it's on sale or when I can find a good deal on primal that I can break down.

                Even chicken has doubled in price in my neighborhood. I am alone and eat only breasts, the going rate here is $2.50/lb for breast with bone-in, up from $1.29/b in less than 6 months. Pretty soon, I will be living on the Kraft "dinners" I had as a starving college students 30 years ago.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Diane in Bexley

                  I live on a small Gulf Isand, and when I moved here 10 yrs ago, it was crazy to go to the big island to shop for food. Now it is a matter of nessecity. Superstore cuts my food bill in half, compared to what our local grocery charges. Eg. watermelon at SS $3.99 Watermelon here was $6.99 the same week. $3.99 butter vs. $5.19. It doesn't make me happy to do it...but it is out of control.

                  We are lucky to have good local lamb, beef and chicken, and I will pay more to support our local farmers, but we eat much less of it. Maybe once or twice a week. Bacon is garnish that makes this new regime tolerable!

                  Also we now make our own yogurt and soft cheese. Tasty and less expensive...$2.75 gives us two liters of yogurt, which is an amazing price for a staple in our home. Also and nice thing to do with my guy.

                  I do like the winnowing down of the number of things to. Simple is good. But it is worring to watch things go up and up every week.

                  1. re: Diane in Bexley

                    I paid $15.00 for four frenched lamb chops yesterday, on sale. Definitely not something we eat often. Same with more expensive cuts of beef, like tenderloin. We generally save up and splurge, rather than eating cheaper cuts, so we go veg a fair bit.

                  2. I've been freezing more meat. I was always fairly wasteful in a way because I would cook plenty of everything just to be sure. But I've become very aware of how much we actually are eating and cooking just that amount. Extra uncooked meat hits the freezer. Less food waste. And I feel good about that all the way around.
                    I also trade or give things to neighbors. Our local store sells produce pre packaged in huge amounts. About 5 of us exchange things, or pass them on rather than chuck them later on.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: alliegator

                      My Mom, my best freind and me all share big quanties from the SuperStore. The big jug of honey is $18 for 3 kgs where as one 1kg is $10 at my local. It helps to keep things fresh too. Also I keep less in my freezer. That way I keep it rotated more and am less likely to waste it due to freezer burn.

                      I will be freezing alot more veg this year. ONE EAR OF CORN WAS .99 cents yesterday! So when it comes in at a reasonable price I will be cooking it, carving it off the cobs and freezing it for soups and relishes all winter.

                      I'm not ready to get into the whole can/jam thing yet!

                    2. I've been eating more chicken thighs instead of breasts.

                      Not only has this saved me a little bit of money, but it has expanded my cooking repertoire to include things I wouldn't have considered previously.