The cost of groceries has finally increased as many predicted at the turn of the pandemic, and we are now seeing the effect on families’ budgets and in their kitchens. The global food supply chain all the way to our local grocery stores are affected.
The California drought is also to blame for the increase in prices. Water-intense crops, like tree nuts, have been particularly impacted. In fact, some farmers have started taking out their almond trees. Prices of hay and other feed sources may increase which will in turn affect the prices of dairy and other animal-based products.
In a recent article, Bloomberg catalogued how different countries, including the US, are seeing increases in their food costs.
Columbia, U.S.: Bulk Buys Keep the Freezer Full
Melissa “Liss” Burnell recently toted home 60 pounds of pork butt from her local Food Lion in Columbia, S.C. She packed the hunks of meat in white plastic laundry baskets in the back of her Jeep Grand Cherokee Overland to make it easier to carry.
Buying in bulk isn’t easy—Burnell has to make arrangements with the meat department several days in advance—but for those who can afford the upfront outlay, it’s definitely a money saver. She paid about 99¢ a pound, well below the retail price of $1.58 a pound, saving about $35 overall.
She then spent hours grinding the meat with her KitchenAid stand mixer, making sausage and ground pork packages to stash in one of her two full-size upright freezers. She also sold some to neighbors at the case price. “They’ve got kids,” says Burnell, 45. “Food is expensive, and nobody wants to shop anyways.”
As food prices creep up, Burnell, who often cooks chicken casseroles for her husband’s construction crew of 10, has begun swapping in legs for the more expensive breast meat. (The price of chicken breast in the U.S. is at a more than six-year high, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.)
Prices for chicken and other protein have been particularly inflated in the U.S. because of labor shortages at processing plants and other bottlenecks along the supply chain. Strong demand from at-home cooks is a factor, and restaurant chains such as Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen and McDonald’s Corp. are embroiled in chicken sandwich wars. At the same time, supply has been constrained as farmers in the South scramble to rebuild flocks decimated by a freak winter storm in February.
While Burnell’s middle-class family isn’t going hungry as food prices rise, millions across the U.S. are. Even before the pandemic, about 35 million Americans were considered food insecure, defined as lacking consistent access to enough food for all members of a household, according to the nonprofit Feeding America. Last year, amid the huge spike in joblessness brought about by the Covid‑19 recession, the number jumped to 45 million, or more than 13% of the population.
[Read the full article here]
We have various resources at the Butte CAA and in our community to help if you find yourself food insecure. One in six American’s reported not having enough to eat or not knowing where their next meal was coming from in 2020. With the drought, inflation, and supply chains being disrupted, more people will need to adjust their budgets and cut back at the very least.
If you or someone you know is worried about food, please let them know of the resources we’ve listed below:
CAA North State Food Bank
Our North State Food Bank (NSFB) is a critical CAA program that has food distribution events year-round. We’ve formed relationships with our local farmers and suppliers to be able to distribute nutritious and dependable food. CAA NSFB activities include:
- Our TEFAP program is for qualifying participants and has an annual calendar listing the distribution events across the tri-county area.
- Our Tailgate distribution events are through the summer and fall. These are open to those who need the extra assistance and feature in season produce from local growers.
- Through the work of our local legislatures, we have extra funding specifically for more food distributions. We promote those via Facebook Events.
Center for Healthy Communities
Another resource in the North State is the Center for Healthy Communities or CHC. They have food distribution events and can also help get you connected and signed up for resources like SNAP and WIC.
If money is tight and you find you are having to choose between your power bill or food, you may qualify for utility assistance. The LHEAP program can give you extra assistance when power bills are too high and give you the financial ability to keep your home safe, warm, and lit while also taking care of other needs.
You can subscribe to our blog where we post about the latest resources and tips on how to make your dollar go further for food.
If you find you are able to provide financial assistance at this time to help make sure others eat, please consider donating in the link below.