Monday, April 13, 2009

Food Price Hikes

The BBC reports that food prices are going up which is not suprising. This is bad news on many levels, because most of the cheapest foods available, are high in sodium, fat and calories. It is for the most part, easier to keep prices down that way. It's not made any easier when the cheapest cut of meat is the hot dog.

Let's face it, we can't all make the most of rice and beans which are healthy for the price but hardly exciting.

They report the following price increases:

Rice - up 81%
Pork sausages - up 51%
Mince - up 22%
Milk - up 14%

Well so much for Rice being cheap, so that just leaves the beans. I firmly believe that culinary education is the key here and people all over the world, including Britain, have forgotten how to cook.

Gordon Ramsay has done a good job at educating the public in England and here in Canada we have some pretty smart home grown chefs on the Food Network, but it's not enough. A little patience, imagination and I think above all, planning menus and shopping lists but we're not used to doing that.

Thankfully the web is making it easier to save money more than ever. Sites like Frugal Shopper and other various articles onsaving money have made an impact on every day budget cuts in grocery bills.

Just remember, fresh is better than dried but anything is better and cheaper than what comes in a frozen box. Consider a lasagna, and add up the costs. A box of frozen lasagna that costs $2.39 will be far more expensive than a large lasagna you make yourself and cut up into lunch sized portions. Price reduced warehouses don't necessarily have cheaper ingredients. Some of these places hike up the prices on some ingredients (meats or vegetables) to compensate. It's always good to compare prices. Years of experience in retail has taught me the value of knowing what the competitor values as their core customer expectation and how to compete with that.

Do the math. Fresh is cheaper than frozen and store bought. It might take a little more effort and time but it's worth it. Those lunches at work add up and you'll lose weight with less added sugar, fats and carbohydrates.

Work up a timetable during weekends. Freeze what you can, prepare ahead, clip coupons, price check and you'll be on the road to a healthier bank account and waist line.

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