Grocery Bill Grind

As I’m sure you may very well have noticed, especially with it being a Monday and all, our world is not all cupcakes and sunshine.

In truth, that little fact of our existence is largely why I enjoy maintaining Beauty & the Feast. Obviously, I really dig food… I like cooking and I like talking about it and like sharing experiences; and on top of that, I take great pleasure in promoting an area geared towards mental escape. I mean we hustle, we bustle and we stress far too great a portion of our lives away… so for  my personal satisfaction and very hopefully yours, I treasure this little cyber-haven as a place to come, let it all hang out, be a little quirky and enjoy what beauty  food has to offer. But as much as I appreciate pulling a bodacious bundt cake from the oven, whether I used oil or butter in baking that baby doesn’t necessarily pose a major impact on the grand scheme of your life.

So, I’ve decided that every now and then, posting something relating to more serious aspects of eating wouldn’t necessarily be a disservice to anyone involved. After all my friends, knowledge is power… step into the light, stay informed.

Now what exactly got my brain a buzzin today?                 The gut-wrenching rise in food prices, that’s what.

You may have noticed that even though you’re purchasing roughly the same amount of goods during a grocery run, when check-out time comes around, the final bill seems inexplicably higher than usual. You’re not going crazy…well, not on that count anyway. Due to wonky weather, ever-growing demand and host of other contributing details, market prices on kitchen staples (things like corn, meat, cereals, coffee, etc) have steadily creeped upward over the past few months. In fact, the United Nations have claimed this year’s unusually high food prices a global phenomenon as  the Food and Agriculture Administration reports that world prices have seen a 37 percent increase since this time last year. Since the basics are growing more costly, major food production companies, as well as commercial and privately own eateries, are subsequently raising their prices. The grand finale: whether you notice or not, you’re paying notably more to eat the same stuff you always have.  And oh hey, guess what…

That Sucks.

You don’t have to dine on filet mignon or veal scallopini every night, but you do have to eat something… duh. Food can be a pleasure, an art, a time capsule and infinitely more; but at it’s most basic, food is a necessity for life. Catch my drift? Like, if you don’t eat…you will die. According to the WFP hunger kills more people annually than AIDS, tuberculosis and Malaria combined, placing it as the leading global health risk. More stats? Okay… 925 million individuals were classified as hungry in 2010. And I feel safe in assuming there’s another pretty hefty chunk of folks who are already teetering at that edge. Straight up, stretching the grocery budget just a smidge further simply may not work out for some families.

As I enjoyed a most lovely breakfast this morning, I couldn’t help but think of how many pretty young things my age had to skip breakfast today, and how many more are gonna have to start skipping meals if agricultural markets continue in the direction they’ve been heading her lately. Regardless of whether you’re in a state of threatened food security or not, this issue does indeed affect you, my dear.

Otherwise, I wouldn’t be all up in your face about it. See, along with my pleasant breakfast this morning, I kicked off the day with two cups of coffee… as I do every single morning. Well, more and more folks are picking up on the joy of a caffeinated lifestyle; but despite a stark spike in demand, major coffee producing nations are hoarding a larger portion of their beans for domestic consumption. Meaning… this girl right here is gonna be one seriously unhappy camper when I have to start paying Starbucks prices for Folgers Classic Roast.

Now that’s but one brief example. My roommate, she doesn’t even like coffee… but she sure can kill some OJ. Yo Rach, orange juice prices are predicted to rise as much as 80 percent this year. We may want to invest in that juicer you mentioned.

Those are just luxury beverages, but uh think about the roast beef with melted provolone sandwich you had for lunch… dairy is at an all-time high,  meat prices are climbing as demand steadily rises but production is being cut,  and the wheat market is just generally depressing.            Uh oh.

So what’s the grand answer to this whole big fat mess?

Man, I don’t know. I don’t raise corn or cows for a living. I’m throwing all this out there neither to play Madame Doom and Gloom, nor to imply that it’s your personal responsibility to formulate an epic solution. But  I  figure if more people are aware to this sort of thing, then we can at least take small measures to slightly cushion our own wallets for now and maybe get some thoughts a racing as to how we may alleviate problems on a larger scale.

Reformulating a shopping strategy can be quite a struggle. I know this especially holds true for my collegiate peer circle who are generally always broke and  just now beginning to really develop a firm grasp on manipulating the grocery store anyway. However, a few  minor changes might help replace a few bucks that recent price spikes snatched out yo pocket…

  • Skip the pre-packed, pre-portioned, partially-prepared junk and just buy its straight-forward equivalent. As in, put back the multi-flavor box of individual instant oatmeal envelopes and just grab the big cardboard cylinder of  quick-cook oats next door. You can measure out your own warm breakfast cereal…I have faith in you.
  • On some things, there’s no shame in buying generic. Sensitive as your dainty little mouth may be, trading Evian for store-brand bottled water won’t leave you gagging on the floor.
  • Try making a few more vegetarian meals throughout the week and lay off the meat counter.
  • Pass up some of the guilty pleasure impulse buys. My personal objective… kill the diet soda addiction. I grab a bottle nearly every time I walk into a store, it’s so ridic. Of course, you should totally treat yourself every now and then.
  • Eating out is always pricier, so make a conscious effort to avoid grabbing a quick bite on your way home multiple times a week. Chances are, there is something edible awaiting in your pantry. Make the occasional outing a special affair and maybe try to arrange some fun dinning-in nights with friends instead.

So now that I’ve totally depressed you and potentially insulted you grocery shopping habits, here are a couple of articles if you’d fancy reading a few more details on the matter…

http://www.npr.org/2011/06/12/137129634/after-wild-weather-higher-food-prices-on-horizon

http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/food/the-outlook-on-rising-food-prices-is-grim-however-you-slice-it

And here’s an uplifting collection of cookies impregnated with various delicious centers from Picky Palate… just to make you smile.

http://picky-palate.com/2011/06/13/collection-of-picky-palate-stuffed-cookies/

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