Pressures Build on Stretched
Agricultural Supply Chain
Food inflation is one of the most soft-peddled government statistics ever. The political class know that food inflation is a potential bomb for them. So food isn’t even counted in headline data numbers mindlessly thrown about by the ever-pliant mainstream financial media. And there is even less information on how food makers shrink package sizes.
Pressures on food prices continue to build. Drought conditions, low inventories, and more aging farmers exiting the business spell trouble. Also, over the next year at least, markets will have to process the retaliatory sanctions recently placed by Russia on U.S. agricultural products.
Spot prices for agricultural commodities have been volatile in 2014. Up sharply early in the year and down sharply this summer. But forget the market action. It is a sideshow. At the retail level, we are already paying much higher prices for groceries, especially meat and dairy products.
Fuel Prices Stay Lower But Food
At Store Still Going Up – Danger!
And that’s with energy prices not soaring. Decades of bad federal farming issues are coming home to roost. They include lack of water infrastructure, overuse of
pesticides and other long standing perverse incentives created by bureaucrats.
Farmland properties appear to be headed for a bust. Which could lead to so much farming dysfunction that food price controls and shortages become a strong possibility.
Zacks Investment Research (August 5, 2014) says: “Retail prices of meat and seafood – key ingredients for restaurant stocks – have been pushed higher by disease and widespread drought. Wholesale beef prices are forecast to jump by 8% – 9% in 2014. Also, U.S. fish and seafood prices are forecast to rise 3.5% to 4.5%…”
Buying in bulk to stay ahead of rising prices makes a lot of sense. Just so long as you buy stuff you know you’ll consume anyway. Just eat it all before it goes bad. And then there’s no downside.
Stocking Up on Meat Makes Sense…
If Done Right
You may not ordinarily think of buying steaks or salmon in bulk. But if you have the freezer space you can do so. And save a lot of money. The key is buying large quantities of meat and seafood when they are on sale. Meat, properly thawed before cooking, usually tastes just as fresh as never-frozen. In fact, freezing preserves freshness. Raw meat should be in your refrigerator only if you’re going to consume it within 24 hours.
Consider purchasing a small utility freezer for under $200 from a discount appliance or warehouse-type store. The new models are very energy efficient. And they can be placed in a garage or spare room. Having extra freezer space will allow you to purchase meats and other items that can be frozen when they are on sale. This leads to significant savings over the long run.
Remember, when you buy meats in bulk, you pay far less for packaging. In all conventional supermarkets, the trend has been toward steadily reducing portions. All the while increasing the percentage of “packaging.” Buying freezable turkey burgers, roasts, chicken breasts, and pork/beef/chicken “loafs” at Costco or Sam’s Club instead can be a big money-saver.
You might also make arrangements to buy meats in quantity at a restaurant supply store. Check your local stores for information. Less trips to the supermarket saves you time and gas.
Learn Here How to Keep
Frozen Foods Tasting Fresh
The chief enemy of frozen foods is freezer burn. There’s nothing worse than having to throw away good food that needlessly went bad.
Regardless of which type(s) of freezer you have, limit freezer burn by heeding these simple steps:
- Keep your frozen food well organized. With all packages labeled and dated for fast retrieval. Better yet, post a list of your freezer’s contents right on the door. And update it every time you add or remove contents.
- Avoid freezing with flimsy wrapping. Ordinary plastic food wrap in itself does not provide much protection. This is why they make freezer bags!
- Remove as much air as possible from the freezer bag or container. A vacuum sealing system is the best. But any method that draws out air will provide at least some protection from freezer burn.
- Clean out your refrigerator freezer compartment regularly. Rotate items and use up older foods first.
A freezer is a great tool for family food security. And it helps you to reduce your grocery bills. Use it wisely and it will pay for itself over time. You want the added security of back-up food for emergencies or hard times.
Go to the Do-It-Yourself Section of our website, www.independentlivingnews.com for much more free information on this important subject. Thanks for being a reader.