Saturday, October 29, 2011

Your Food Prices Today and Tomorrow - Prepare Prudently

The USDA keeps tabs on food-cost data, using a number of different parameters. If you're interested in such things, here's a nice place to start on their website:  a table of Food CPI and expenditures.

From that table, you will find, among other things, that in 2010 the average total per capita food expenditure in the US was $4016. The USDA also just came out with a statement to the effect that they anticipate the 2011 number will be up to 4.5% higher. That means when the 2011 data is in the books, they expect the per capita number could reach $4197.

The most current rate of food price inflation is actually showing higher than 5%, with meats and dairy leading the way (for instance, beef prices are up better than 10% from September 2010 to September 2011).

Your mileage may very well differ from these numbers. Most folks I know would see 5% annual food price increases as far more moderate than what they are personally experiencing. Much depends on what and how you eat. Also, if you have a number of mouths to feed, those per capita increases deliver a magnified impact on a household budget.

Boiled and Mashed

I like to boil these numbers down to cost per day and then cost per meal. The assumption is not that these food costs equate to three meals per day. I know that in reality, Americans snack and eat and drink at times other than at mealtime. But I am in the preparedness food business, and looking at the cost of daily sustenance is pertinent to our marketplace.

The USDA seems to be expecting that our 2011 per capita daily food costs are at $11.50. A family of 4 is spending $46.00 a day on food. You can easily do your own math based on your own household size to cost per meal.

That USDA per capita number is averaged across all income brackets. If you are upper middle class or better, your food cost is no doubt higher--significantly.

Preparing for Higher Costs Tomorrow

There is no doubt that food price pressures are increasing. Growing global populations and emerging markets where populations are entering the competition for limited food supplies will lead to higher food costs down the road. Weather disasters causing crop failures are expected to continue to grow in significance. We won't even go where the USDA does not tread in their forecasting ... such as what might happen in the case of economic collapse or the eruption of major warfare, and how that could affect food supplies and prices.

Needless to say, more than ever, a quality food storage program is the foundation for any serious-minded household preparedness effort.

Preparing by the Numbers

Some folks new to preparedness shy away from making major food investments, even knowing that food which stores well for decades is going to be be far more valuable and critical when the time comes for its consumption.

But the USDA data actually helps some folks to put it all into perspective. Bottom line--do not expect that quality food--the kind you are accustomed to eating--and especially food that is specifically canned and packaged for long-term storage, is going to cost less than what you are spending today for your food. You know--the food that is processed and packaged in volumes meant for prompt consumption in massive consumer-driven quantities.

In other words--if want to be confident in building a truly adequate and satisfying food storage program for your family, start with the $11.50 per day per person number and go from there. Spend less than that, and something somewhere is wrong and you are likely not getting what you may believe you are getting.

It is still in your power to be ready for what is coming.
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Get Ready ... Seriously -- www.safecastle.com

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