By Donna Quirk, MBA RD LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager
We have all noticed an increase in food prices during the past one to two years. We have also felt it in our wallets! The causes of higher prices are complex and are a reflection of our changing world. Some of the most commonly cited causes are:
- Extreme weather – droughts, flooding, and other irregularities from climate change – have lead to lower grain crop yields globally. For instance, the recent floods in Thailand are affecting rice crops. Weather has also affected peanut yields and the size of cattle herds in Texas.
- Demand for biofuels made from grains, for example, corn to produce ethanol.
- Rising oil prices
- An unsettled and uncertain global economy
- A growing world population leading to more demand for food but less land to farm.
Although it is believed that food prices will stabilize it is doubtful that prices will return to where they were.
So, 2012 is the year to become a savvy grocery shopper! Here are some tips:
- Plan your meals and create a shopping list then stick to it!
- Use the weekly grocer’s sale flyer to plan meals. Choose dishes that use meats and vegetables that are marked down.
- Only buy perishable foods you know you will use. No one likes to throw out food that is past its use by date.
- Stock up sensibly. For instance, I buy extra and freeze boneless, skinless chicken breasts when they go on sale for around $2.00 a pound. Discounted frozen vegetables, whole grain bread, cereal, and nuts are also nutritious items to stock up on.
- Become a coupon expert. Use coupons on sale items to save even more money, but don’t buy something just because you have a coupon.
- Plan a meatless day every week. Use whole grains and beans as a meat substitute for grocery bill savings.