Combatting higher food prices caused by the drought
Beating the Drought's Impact on Food Prices
by Veronica Bowman
3 Ways the Drought Will Affect Consumers
My Story: Secrets of a Grocery Clerk
Cooking with Beans
Grocery prices continue to inch a little higher, but they may not have jumped as high as you anticipated when you began hearing the news reports about the ongoing drought in the Midwest. Don’t let the slight price increases lure you into falsely believing that is the only impact you will experience from the damaged corn and soybean crops. According the USDA Economic Research Service, “The full effects of the increase in corn prices for packaged and processed foods (cereal, corn flour, etc.) will likely take ten to twelve months to move through to retail food prices.” Due to that fact, the majority of price increases will be felt during 2013.
Food prices are expected to increase between three and four percent in the upcoming year with the concentrated areas of increase being eggs, dairy, and meat. The Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion reports that the estimated moderate weekly cost of groceries for a family of four is $236.60. The projected cost increase could have an annual impact of $600 on a family of four. Without a doubt, there is still a need to find ways to reduce the family grocery bill without compromising everyone’s health.
With grocery prices on the rise, unemployment rates still high, and the overall uncertainty of the state of the economy, it is imperative that those of us stretching our food dollars continue following all of the tips that those in similar situations have been offering during these financially trying times. In addition, it may also be time to include some creative cooking ideas along with your frugal shopping tips to further stretch those grocery dollars.
With meat being one of the items where a price increase is imminent, it may be necessary for you to find ways to make that pound of ground beef or pack of chicken stretch even farther than usual. The following tips are offered as a starting point to ignite your creative cooking ideas.
- When making spaghetti sauce, use half as much meat as usual. You can add lentils, extra spices or other vegetables for added flavor.
- Prepare dishes such as chicken pie, chicken noodle, chicken and rice soup, or chicken casserole in order to make less chicken go farther.
- When preparing slow cooker stews, increase the amount of vegetables and decrease the amount of meat.
- Designate two days a week as meatless meal days.
- Revise some of your standard recipes so they require less meat, yet remain a family favorite. For example, reduce the amount of meat in a meatloaf recipe to a half of a pound and compensate by adding 1 to 1 1/2 cups of cooked, drained, and mashed pinto beans.
Breakfast can quickly become an expensive meal with the increase in eggs, milk, and cereal. However, this is not a meal you want to omit. You can implement some money-saving strategies to make breakfast less of a budget-breaker. At the beginning of the year, before prices go any higher, stock up on cereal, flour, and similar items. Be sure to store these items in a location where they are not subjected to moisture.
- You can prepare muffins and breakfast bread and store them in a freezer for later use.
- Oatmeal is a healthy, easy to prepare breakfast food that you can stretch by adding various things to it. Buy seasonal fruits to add to the oatmeal. Keep an assortment of spices on hand to keep oatmeal from becoming boring.
- Many of us actually eat more cereal than what is considered to be a standard serving. Serve the appropriate amount and add peanut butter toast, multi-grain muffins, or fruit and juice to the breakfast to make it a filling meal.
- On weekends, consider personal omelets for everyone. You can make a delicious omelet using lots of vegetables and little or no meat.
Many prepared snacks contain ingredients that are on the escalated price list. You can save money on your grocery bill by making your own cookies, trail mix, and other snack foods. Growing some fruit and vegetables yourself provides a source of healthy, inexpensive snack food.
Take the Next Step:
- For more inexpensive breakfast ideas, please visit here.
- Read “3 Ways the Drought Will Affect Consumers”
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Also In This Week's Issue
- 7 restaurant deals you shouldn't swallow
- 7 smart strategies of extreme couponers
- Healthy family breakfasts
- Secrets of a grocery clerk
- Using your freezer to prevent food waste
- Tips for preserving and conserving produce
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