Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why should we have a food storage program? The challenge of food prices

The U.S. Department of Labor's most recent report on the Consumer Price Index shows that food and beverage prices are rising at an annual rate of 9.1 percent based on the three months ending August, 2008. The Special Index for food shows an annualized increase of 9.6 percent.

See http://www.bls.gov/news.release/cpi.nr0.htm

Another report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service predicts that food-at-home prices, led by eggs, dairy, and poultry prices, increased 4.2 per cent in 2007. The same report notes that among 154 forms of fruits and vegetables priced using ACNeilsen Homescan data, more than half were estimated to cost 25 cents or less per serving. Consumers can meet the recommendation of three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables daily for 64 cents.

See http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/CPIFoodAndExpenditures/

"According to the Homescan data, consumers spent $223 billion on food at retail stores in 1999. Expenditures on fruits and vegetables accounted for 7.6 percent and 7.7 percent of this total. Fresh fruits and vegetables accounted for more than half of all expenditures on fruits and vegetables, while canned vegetables and fruit juices accounted for almost one-third of expenditures. In comparison, consumers spent 9 percent on bakery products, 8 percent on red meat, 6 percent on carbonated soft drinks, 4.3 percent on cheese, 3.4 percent on breakfast cereals, and 3.2 percent on candy (table 2). We ranked the 27 fruits and 30 vegetables in our sample according to quantity purchased, expenditures, and total servings purchased, regardless of the form in which they were purchased (fresh, canned, frozen, or juice). Again, totals include only the processed products that are plain, unflavored, and/or unsweetened (to the extent possible). Among the 27 fruits, Americans spent the most money on oranges, bought the most pounds of bananas, and ate the most servings of apples (table 3). These three fruits were the top three in quantity and servings, and among the top four in expenditures (consumers spent more on grapes than apples). For most fruits (except for watermelon and plums), quantity, cost, and servings are closely related. Among the 30 vegetables, potatoes accounted for the largest share of expenditures, pounds purchased, and servings eaten (table 4). Potato totals were more than three times as many pounds purchased, and nearly four times as many servings (but only 15 percent more dollars) as tomatoes, the second most popular vegetable in all three categories."

See http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aib790/aib790c.pdf

Figure it out, in the U.S. in 1999, we spent over $7 billion on candy! The same study shows that in 1999 the cost of nutritional food was 64 cents per day when the average American was spending $5.50 per day on food. Fulfilling all of a person's nutritional needs could be accomplished for less than a dollar. Although there has been some inflation since that time, the nutritious food for a family of four would cost far less than $120 per month.

I would suspect that most people would not believe these figures.

More later.

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