Ways to combat rising food prices.

January 26, 2023

Supply chain problems, labor shortages, higher wage rates, higher fuel costs, drought, avian flu, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are all factors contributing to these price hikes. 

Retail food prices reflect farm-level commodity prices to some extent, but packaging, processing, transportation, and other marketing expenditures, as well as competitive variables, have a larger impact on deciding pricing on supermarket shelves and restaurant menus. It is very important to take steps to reduce bills on food.

  • Avoid pre-prepared and pre-packaged foods: Pre-packaged food can be more costly than loose food. For example, a 400g tray of beef and pork mince was $8 ($20/kg) on Friday whereas a 400g pack of beef and pig meatballs cost $12 ($30/kg).
  • Don’t be fooled by the supermarkets’ tricks: The purpose of supermarkets is not merely to meet your needs but they have been thoughtfully designed to capitalize on our responses to a variety of other things that we don’t even require.  Retailers place more expensive, higher margin items exactly at eye level, where buyers are more inclined to reach for them, and cheaper options towards the top or bottom of the shelves.
  • Prepare a list: Make sure you have a list of things that you need to buy so you will avoid spending time on other things. This will save you time as well as money.
  • Shop locally: Don’t always rely on supermarkets to get things. Look around, most of the fresh products sold in supermarkets can also be found locally. There are several alternatives outside of the supermarket, and it is frequently cheaper to buy unpackaged goods at other locations.
  • Embrace a meat-free day once a week: meat is expensive. And depending on the size of your household it will cost you. Having one meat-free day per week can save some money.
  • Proper storage: Proper storage can extend the shelf life of many fresh fruits and vegetables.  Fruit produces a ripening chemical that can swiftly ruin nearby veggies. Fruit and vegetables survive longer with little space to breathe, so don’t overcrowd the refrigerator. If leafy greens wilt in the bottom of the fridge, due to exposure to moisture.  Try washing and drying them right away, then storing them in a plastic bag with a paper towel.
  • Try frozen or canned: When fresh produce is out of season or in short supply, it’s sometimes cheaper to buy canned or frozen fruit and vegetables. It also reduces food waste.
  • Plant more: Research what you intend to grow so you know when to plant it, how to care for it, and how much water it requires. Instead of buying a 300g bag of peeled baby carrots at the supermarket, you can get a package of 1000 carrot seeds and grow your own for the same price.
  • Eat at home: You spend more money when you eat at a restaurant. So prepare your meals at home only.
  • Shop without kids: Every extra minute you spend in the store boosts your chances of buying more, including toys and food to keep the kids quiet while you shop.
  • Compare prices and stores: Comparing prices and brands is a simple method to save a few pennies on purchases.

Food is one of those expenses that you simply cannot avoid, but diligent shopping can help you spend less on this vital item. It only takes a little time, patience, and effort.

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