2012 drought = higher food prices in 2013
Yes, it’s been raining a ton today. But as you know, there has been a serious drought throughout the United States this year. A report today from the Associated Press says that the drought is actually getting worse in some key farming states that grow corn and soybeans. That is not good news because corn and soybeans are the top two crops grown in the United States.
About 80% of corn grown is used to feed livestock. Another 12% ends up in foods like corn chips or as ingredients like HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). Oh, and it’s used to create ethanol fuel, too.
Soybean are used to make almost 80% of the edible oil used in both food manufacturing and frying and sautéing. Soybeans are also used to make diesel fuel, and the hulls are used as cattle feed.
So you know what that means? Food prices are going to rise in 2013, some more dramatically than others.
The important question is what can we do about it?
- Feed the freezer. Many people rely upon One Day Meat Sales to stock up on meats. I usually just keep my eyes open for manager’s specials at the grocery stores, which is usually meat cuts from the previous day that need to be sold quickly and at reduced prices. Last week I got organic chicken and grass fed beef for 1/2 off this way! If you don’t know where the markdown section is in your favorite store, ask. Many others simply buy 1/2 a cow/pig. While I’ve never done this, I’ve been told that the prices are pretty good compared to the regular prices at grocery stores.
- Eat less Meat. Goes without saying that meats can be the most expensive part of the meal. Try to have a Meatless Monday. Also make sure that your plate is more in line with ChooseMyPlate.gov than the days of old, when a huge slab of meat was in the middle with a tiny amount of vegetables on the side.
- Create a reasonable stockpile to combat inflation. This makes good sense anytime, not just when food prices rise. I always tell my coupon class attendees to only stockpile as much as you need until the next sale.
- Eat seasonal produce. This one is very easy for our family. We are enjoying the abundance of produce that is available right now. Come February, I don’t care how much I crave strawberries, there is no way I’ll pay $5.00/lb.
- Grow your own food. What we don’t eat during harvest season usually gets frozen or canned. Again, come February, I’m opening up canned corn that tastes like it’s fresh off the cob, too.
Those are just some of things you can do as we face higher prices at the grocery stores.
Do you have any other tips or tricks?*http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ON_THE_MONEY_FOOD_PRICES_SUMMARY_BOX?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT