Monday, May 12, 2008

Cost of Eating

Matt sent me this article today about rising food costs hurting the organic food industry. I found it very apropos since I had just returned from the grocery store. I was still in a bit of sticker shock over the price of an organic green pepper - $3.99 EACH. I had to read the sign a few times. I thought maybe it was $3.99/lb. Nope. $3.99 each. And they were pretty scrawny peppers at that. The conventional green peppers were also expensive at $1.99 each. I stood there mulling over what to do for as long as the kids could tolerate.

We are in the fortunate position that we decided long ago not to compare prices on organic vs conventional foods. We buy organics whenever they are available in order to use our dollars to demonstrate what is important to us. Now I haven't stuck to this always. Sometimes when I am buying large amounts of food (like for a community meal), I have a difficult time with the price differences. Or when there is a big price difference. Or when they have the organic price right next to the conventional price. Difficult to ignore that! Still I try to buy organic and not fret over the price differences. However, as food prices rise, I can understand how difficult it must be for a family on a stricter food budget not be able to justify organics.
-
In the article, I was very pleased with the quote from the Stonyfield Farm CEO about not increasing prices in order to protect their mission of increasing organic consumption. It just reinforced my commitment to buy their products.
-
Although we will continue to purchase organic foods whenever available, our family is making some adjustments to keep our food budget down. I am going to continue to try to plan and cook meals to avoid eating out too much. Hopefully we'll get a decent crop from our garden this summer. I have also started making my own bread. I've been experimenting with it already, but this weekend I pulled out my dusty bread machine. I want to find a good, healthy sandwich bread recipe. Plus I have a whole wheat sourdough starter fermenting. Like the karate instructor, we are also going to continue to be mindful of serving sizes in our house.
-
And which green pepper did I get? Neither. I don't have a specific meal planned using a green pepper. If I need one later this week, I'll have Matt stop at the store on the way home and let him decide!

12 comments:

Penny said...

They must be our of season prices do you think?

Our food bill is rising too. We've just had a big discussion on one of my scrapbooking forums about it. Everyone is feeling the pinch these days - some of our basics have gone up 62% from last year. And they are things that NZ produces heaps off like milk, cheese and butter. It's crazy we have to pay export prices for items that are not exported.

Penny said...

sorry for the spellos!

half pint pixie said...

bell peppers and avocados are so expensive in Ireland! My daughter loves both and because peppers are so pesticide-laden I won't even consider non-organic for her (although I have been known to just grab some for myself if needed). Anyway, 2 avocados and a pack of 3 organic bell peppers = 10 euro (About $15) yesterday, grr... People have started joking that the 50 euro bill is the new 20, as everything is just getting so dear!

AnnieM said...

I 've been making all our bread lately. We've found a favorite that I make at least twice a week. It is unbelievably easy, I start in in the bread machine and bake it in the oven ( I can't stand the shape the bread maker makes it, petty I know). Let me know if you want it!

Kate said...

We switched to organics only recently (once I found out I was pregnant last year) and we're definitely feeling the weekly strain it adds to the budget. I'm never quite sure what do do - but I am sure I wouldn't buy a $4 pepper, at least not yet! That said I did spend $7 on a gallon of milk last week which made me a little sad.

I'm looking for a good sandwich bread recipe too, so please do share! I don't have a bread maker (I use my mixer instead), but I'm assuming I can adapt (?)

Angela Miller said...

I purchased a ton of organic stuff on my trip to Trader Joe's last week. I also picked up some organic whole wheat flour to make bread. I'm going to pull out the bread machine this week. I would love any bread recipes you come up with!

ajay said...

I joined a CSA two months ago and I am now spending way less on produce, which happens to be all organic and local, than I was previously. And while I feel the price crunch with bread, milk and other dairy a lot, I have bought some organic fruits and veggies lately for less than their non-organic counterparts. Not sure how that's happening, but it is!

badhuman said...

My fiance and I are trying to cope with the rising food costs by making as much as possible from scratch. We have cut out prepackaged convience foods and reduced our meat intake. We buy as much as possible from the bulk bins and eat all our leftovers or reincarnate them as something else. We spend less and waste less and it hasn't been all sacrifice. Our homemade bread and tortillas are better then anything we have ever bought at the store and fresh raw milk mozzarella- WOW! It is amazing and really not that hard. These are things we wouldn't have discovered if we just kept buying the cheapest thing at the store so we think it is worth it.

notes from em said...

I make my own bread from scratch, its a recipe from Christopher Kimball, the Cooks Bible cook book. Its phenomenal every time I make it. As for the rise in food cost, it has hit us hard as well. I make all my own baby food from organic produce and its adding up. Just out of curiosity, how much money a month do others who eat similarly spend? I feel like I am way off base to eat healthy. We spend around $650.00 a month, and I don't feel like we have hardly any wasted food. I'm just not sure how to cut back with out sacrificing the standard of food we eat. Any suggestions?

Tiffany said...

My only reason for not eating more organic foods is the cost we just cannot afford to even though we would love to. Organic food tastes so much better. I have been buying some organic foods such as eggs and milk and I am very mindful about what we are eating - whole grain breads and cereals and home cooked food.

The Cole Mine said...

We do this too - plan our meals around what is on sale or in season...Grocery prices are getting just crazy. Interesting article-

ames said...

It just seems so completely backwards that people are having to choose the less-healthy option over the healthy option because of price, when our nation has such a huge obesity problem. Why does being healthy cost so much?

$4 for a green pepper. Yowza is all I can say. Makes me want to start a produce-liberation revolution!