Food Prices on the Up and Up

by Jill Bender on October 28, 2010

Article first published as Food Prices on the Up and Up on Technorati.

flour2 210x300You will pay more for a number of food items in the coming months.

General Mills has announced its plans to increase the prices on some of its cereal brands on November 15, and increase the Betty Crocker brand of baking goods in January 2011. Kraft Foods has already begun increasing their prices and McDonalds has indicated that it will raise its prices in 2011.

As big name manufacturers announce price increases on select items, other manufacturers will likely follow suit resulting in industry-wide increases. While the increases are not expected to be as steep as those taken in 2008 they will be enough to prompt a consumer response that will include comparing prices.

The economy remains shaky, and the debate about whether or not we are in a recession is ongoing, but the facts remain that the unemployment rate is high and the mortgage foreclosure rate remains high. Increasing food prices is likely to send shockwaves through the already money-strapped corners of society. Again.

So why are food prices increasing again? And when will it stop?

The prices of wheat and corn commodities are largely to blame. Demand is growing at a faster pace than supply can sustain. United States grain crops have been affected by adverse weather conditions. Russia, who exports wheat to the United States, has also been affected by drought conditions and has temporarily put a stop to exporting wheat.

Wheat and corn affect almost every single food item in the market. Cows eat corn. Wheat makes flour.

Higher food prices are not going to go away because it is rare that a price decrease ever makes its way to the consumer, but steps can be taken to avoid the shock to your budget with a couple of very simple steps:

  1. Use coupons. Use newspaper inserts, printable online coupons, and a loyalty shopper card.
  2. Switch to generic brands. Many times they are manufactured by a leading name brand.
  3. Read the store ads that come in the mail and newspaper, or online and make your shopping list according to the items that are on sale.
  4. Stock up (buy extra) when items go on sale. Baking items are usually priced low around the holidays, healthy items in January and February and condiments in June and July.
  5. Plan a weekly menu around the items in your stock.

Be ready, like it or not food prices are going up.

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa October 29, 2010 at

Wonderful information above – thank you for posting this.

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2 Jill October 29, 2010 at

You are so very welcome. I know that it has been talked about here and there on the news, but I don’t think the mainstream media has done enough in getting the word out yet. I think many people are going to be shocked. Yet again.

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3 A Daddy Blog October 29, 2010 at

Thanks for the heads up and the tips. I’m lucky I guess, in that I don’t eat Betty Crocker, General Mills, Kraft or McDonalds products. Not that price hikes won’t hit the vegetables, fruit and lean meats and fish I do eat. It’s hard to find coupons for the healthy stuff at the grocery. :( Any tips for saving on produce and fresh meat & fish?

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4 Jill October 29, 2010 at

Hi Michael, Believe it or not there are coupons for some of those items too. I have to say, though, that those are sometimes take a little more work to track down. Most of the time you can find coupons directly from the manufacturer and you’ve got to print them. There is a $1.00 from Laura’s Lean Beef on their site now. You can also find A LOT by “liking” your favorites on facebook. Do you shop mainstream stores or Whole Foods type? Whole Foods has their own coupons too.

And then there’s the obvious, stock up when it’s on sale. Canning, freezing. I just started canning and freezing this year. It’s a lot of work, but man I love baking a peach pie with the best peaches in the world that I froze over the summer.

There are also more and more healthy coupons available on the more mainstream coupon sites too.

I have recently taken to cooking from scratch as much as possible, although I admit Betty Crocker cupcakes from a box for the 2nd grade Halloween party today. Oops.

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5 A Daddy Blog October 30, 2010 at

Thanks so much for the great input. I had no idea I could get produce discounts, too. That’s great. We shop at both regular stores and Wholefoods. When it comes to baking, I’d totally use a mix, too. And one can’t avoid that much with kiddo parties and stuff. I’m just watching what we eat more closely from a dietary perspective, and flour and sugar aren’t high on my list. More focused on veggies, fruit and lean meats and fish. I’ve not been online much. I know you commented on my blog. Perhaps I’ll get back to that tomorrow while our baby girl is napping. You have a great night, Jill. Oh, and Happy Halloween!

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6 Jill October 31, 2010 at

Hey, no worries. I’m not one of those “must comment back on every comment” types. Life comes first. Always! Happy Halloween to you too.

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7 Jill October 29, 2010 at

Oh, and really, I just want to get the word out. Honestly, I’m not hearing much about the increases that are coming and when I do it seems to be “oh, and prices are going up again” type of thing. And, in my not-very-humble opinion, this increase is going to be the hardest one to swallow.

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