Who hasn’t noticed the price of food drastically increasing? For many, in a time of job insecurity, continued economic uncertainty it’s infuriating and borders on the line of price gouging. In April, when the pandemic panic was at its peak, the price of groceries rose 2.6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, resulting in the biggest one-month increase in grocery prices since 1974. The Wall Street Journal has further reported these price fluctuations are the fastest-rising food prices in a decade and it looks like this won’t disappear anything soon.
“Food prices are rising not because we don’t have enough food, but mainly due to the fact that the agri-food supply chain is currently unable to deliver when and where food is needed due to the shortage of labor, particularly at farm level,” Sanjib Bhuyan, an associate professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics. Source
The disruption of the food chain sparked by COVID created a supply-demand imbalance that got even more out of whack when meatpacking plant employees started to catch the coronavirus. To circumvent this, grocery stores have put limits on certain products, or raised prices to ration certain items, and in some cases, there are some stores who are transferring these rising costs onto consumers as they face higher costs from their suppliers.
How To Beat the Rapid Swings of Food Prices
Planning for a future of food price inflation now will help you save money and invest in your future. In a previous article, I remarked how toilet paper seems to be the one item that is ingrained in our memory as the grocery item that initially incited the run on the grocery stores but shortly following, these items quickly flew off the shelves.
- Pasta and tomato sauce
- Peanut butter
While many of these items are currently in stock, you and I both know that when the next wave hits, these food staples will quickly disappear again. To prepare for future supply crunches, start purchasing these items, and any other essential items you use now to stock up before there are any shortages.
Meat and poultry
According to the Today Show, “the overall cost of most types of meat, poultry, fish, and eggs has increased by 4.3%, the largest increase of any single grocery category. Various cuts of beef saw a 3.7% increase, while pork prices went up by 3% and poultry prices rose 4.7%.”
Were you aware that eggs can be frozen for future use? You can purchase a bulk amount of eggs and freeze them (out of their shell) for up to one year. When you’re ready to use frozen eggs, thaw them overnight in the refrigerator or under running cold water. Use egg yolks or whole eggs as soon as they’re thawed. Check out these 20 perishables that can be frozen.
Concentrating your efforts on finding meat sales and grocery deals will help you save in the long run. We have been publishing monthly store deals to help you easily find when items are at their cheapest. You can view the most recent deals here. Another way to search for deals is by finding local restaurant supply companies and purchasing bulk items through them. As well, finding local farmers and ranchers for meat purchases. Here is an article on 6 Ways To Secure Essential Resources In An Emergency.
At the onset of COVID, we all witnessed the fast disappearance of canned goods. This is at the top of our must-have emergency food list, and if another wave strikes, they will disappear again. Make a list of your family’s most-used canned good items and start purchasing them now.
Some of the top-selling canned items that will go fast are:
- Canned tomato products
- Canned meat
- Canned meals (pasta meals, Manwich, stews)
- Vegetables and fruits
An alternative could be to try your hand at canning your own garden products and meals. Starting a garden is both economic and more healthy for your diet. Not to mention, a stress-free route to creating a continual food supply and is something explored in The Coronavirus Handbook.
It is perfectly understandable why this pandemic supply item was on the sold-out list from the panic buying that ensured during this health crisis. After all, people want to ensure their hands and homes are clean. However, the store shelves are still not full of sanitation items 3 months into the crisis. If you were not lucky to purchase these early into the pandemic crisis, you will have to get creative in searching for this essential cleaning supply.
Searching online and scheduling a pickup may be the easiest in terms of searching these essentials out. While superstore chains like Walmart, office supply stores, and hardware stores like Home Depot will have cleaning supplies, many consumers turn to these stores when panic shopping sets in and will stress the demand of these products. Contacting your local Mom and Pop stores could be your best bet at finding these items. Another option, look at pet stores in your area. Many pet stores will have a cleaning aisle and disinfectants should be present. Keep in mind that these items will likely have purchase restrictions on it. Therefore, you will need to find multiple stores to stock up.
Alternatively, when the next wave hits and you do not feel adequately prepared with sanitation supplies, plan a home lockdown. This will ensure that your family does not bring the virus into the home, thus minimizing the need to scour the home and surfaces with germicides and sanitation needs.
Planning is Key
Price inflation and shortages of food and/or essential preparedness items will only continue as long as COVID is present. As much as we would like for this to all go away, it will not.
Now is the time time to begin preparing for the possibility of another pandemic wave. Not only will this early preparation get you ready for this emergency, but for future emergencies as well. If this experience has taught us anything, it is that nothing is guaranteed and we must begin depending more on ourselves. Therefore, before the impending food prices soar so high that it affects our financial wellbeing, start stocking up.
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