Food prices simply exploded in the last year. A walk through the grocery store is enough to bring on palpitations, and it seems to get worse every week. When we started this blog in 2011, one of the first posts was on the cost of food. I figured it was time for an update. Never mind the prices for high-end foods like sirloin steak, which went from $8.08 a pound in 2011 to $10.27 in 2022. Instead, let’s look at some of the more basic foods you’re likely to have in your basket or cart.
The Price of Food
- Good old hamburger prices have risen from $4.36 to $4.85 a pound.
- Cheddar cheese to top those burgers is up from $5.40 to $5.93 per pound.
- Your bacon and eggs will cost $7.37 a pound for the bacon and $3.59 for a dozen eggs these days. In 2011, that would have been $5.59 and $2.11.
- Milk is up from $3.72 to $4.22.
- Chicken? Price change: $1.55 to $1.86 for a whole chicken.
- Coffee rose from $4.74 a pound to $6.36.
- Bread (and this is white bread, which doesn’t offer much in the way of nutrition) has climbed from $1.48 to $1.85 a loaf.
The individual price changes, in most cases, don’t seem all that bad (although that’s a pretty big jump for your morning cup of java). In the aggregate, however, food prices have gone up about 12-13% in the last year! The USDA will tell you that we don’t have actual food shortages in the US, but there may be “inventory issues.” WHO, on the other hand, says food shortages are coming. What about the money to pay for those foods? Well, the average wage in the US increased 8.89% in 2021 (data for 2022 won’t be available until May 2023). It doesn’t take a degree in accounting to figure out that we have a problem.
My Food Costs
In my 2011 post I talked about my costs for these foods. We’ve made a number of changes in our feeding program – for example, I can’t get food scraps from the local school any more (COVID, bears and my work hours), and we no longer buy screenings because we don’t have a bear-proof storage system. But my total food production costs probably aren’t up more than 5% at this point. However, we’re not raising pigs or sheep at the moment. My garden is bigger, so the chickens are getting more surplus people food, weeds, spoiled hay and such. We butchered one steer and have an old cow scheduled to go for hamburger in February. We’re donating the cow’s meat to a local food pantry; there are lots of people out there who are having a much tougher time than we are and protein foods are the really expensive part of the food basket. This won’t decrease my cost per animal, but it decreases my overall costs.
Coming next week (depending on the press of work) – how to deal with rising food prices.