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Apr 20, 2014 10:42 PM

High food costs

Is anyone else changing the way they cook and/or eat because of the high cost of certain foods? I just can't bring myself to pay the cost of beef, for example. Pork is up because of the baby pig epidemic, cheese is at an all-time high, chicken is going up. This winter I find myself cooking with more fish and sausage and beans and vegetables (and where I am, it IS still winter). Is anyone else making significant changes because of this, and if so, what?

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  1. Nope, we're continuing to cook pretty much as we've done in recent years. We've not really needed to cut back on expenditure generally but, if we had, then it would have been on other aspects of life not food.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Same here. We tend to eat a lot of legumes, soups, fresh vegetable anyway. If we do meat, it's cheaper cuts or larger portions for roasts with lots of leftovers that can be used in other dishes.

      1. re: Harters

        Are you seeing the same increases in England (UK? Britain?) for things like beef as we are here in the US?

      2. I HAVE, but not intentionally.
        Scenario-- go to grocery store. Price packs of chicken, ground beef, pork chops. Decide they're too much and I'll "skip this time."
        Later in the week, check freezer for a basic protein ingredient-- don't have it!
        SO, I can't bring myself to pay the price(s) but I haven't yet readjusted my mental "what I always have on hand" list.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Kris in Beijing

          if you assemble a recipe file for legume-based main dishes, your problem will be solved.

        2. My demand for high quality food is about as inelastic as it can get. Unless prices double, I won't really change my purchasing habits at all. I'll change my purchasing habits of every other good and service I use before food.

          Also, how are you eating more fish? Good seafood is vastly more expensive than pork, beef, or chicken assuming you're eating good quality fish. Are you simply catching it yourself?

          I feel like food is incredibly inexpensive. Though maybe that's just because compared to other things I can buy, good food always ranks at, or near the top of my priority list.

          The thought of cutting something out of my diet that I love to eat is utterly unthinkable to me.

          On a side note, is food actually getting more expensive? I haven't noticed anything like that on a mass scale, though I'm 24 and have only been buying groceries roughly 6 years, and worked at a grocery store for 4 years in high school before that so my experience is limited to about 1 decade.

          4 Replies
          1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

            Where I am in the world, food price inflation is outstripping general levels of inflation.

            For example, the changes in the weather in recent years have reduced crop yields. In some parts of the world, land that used to grown food is now being used for bio-fuels. And this at a time when supply and demand is inherently affecting prices - an issue for those of us who live in parts of the world where we are obliged to import food.

            1. re: EatFoodGetMoney

              Fish is by far the most expensive protein we eat and we generally buy pastured meat and dairy. I was wondering how that was a budget option too.

              Food prices are rising all over and we will probably just suck it up and buy what we value. Good food is important. And more beans, always more beans.

              1. re: JudiAU

                It can depend a lot on location. For me, seafood is cheaper in general than beef or lamb, because the seafood is local and the other is generally imported from abroad. And some stuff can be very cheap - in season I can get whole squid or saury for about 30 cents a piece.

              2. re: EatFoodGetMoney

                Good comments, thanks!

                Salmon, walleye, cod loins, and shrimp are regular sale items at our supermarket and that's when I buy them. There is little or no waste so portion costs are pretty reasonable. I use the cod for fish tacos and the shrimp in stir fry or other dishes with vegetables and pasta or rice.

                Foods that have gone up in price or will go up significantly in 2014 include: Chicken, Turkey, Pork, Beef, Citrus, Cheese, Coffee, Wine and Produce.

                In the mean time, I'm challenging myself to make do with less of these foods and to be more creative with alternatives.

              3. I am willing to pay for a quality food item that I particularly desire - ie pastured pork from Lancaster County, beef from Philly Cow Share, but I don't buy blindly - I buy it when I have a good price from a good source. I find supermarket prices often very high for products that are not particularly high quality I definitely adjust my choices of what I buy and where I shop based on this. I look for sales and always compare per lb prices before filling my cart.

                The change I would like to make but have not managed to is to buy only very high quality pastured/free range/organic animal protein and adjust quantity of consumption accordingly

                1. In Chicago good fish costs three or four times as much as chicken. You must live in New Bedford MA with Moby Dick.