Grocery Store Expenses Rising Sharply
I remember a time – and it wasn’t all that long ago – when food problems seemed so distant.
We’d hear about famines and food shortages around the globe. But not here. We’d read about contaminations and skyrocketing food expenses in other countries. But not in the U.S.
And while our hearts went out to those suffering from a lack of nourishing food, many of us probably said to ourselves, “I’m glad I’m in America.”
Well, I’m forever glad I’m in America. But now some of those serious food problems have reached our shores. Mainly due to the pandemic.
The Fastest Pace in Decades
The rate of food and other items we acquire at grocery stores is rising at the fastest pace in decades. And the food supply chain is being threatened.
Seven months after the virus began hitting America hard, most store shelves are still not full.
Many meat manufacturers have shut down because of workers becoming ill. And that has strained the supply chain.
And when meat is available, it’s higher than it was previously. We’re hearing much more about food insecurity these days. And that will only increase.
Beef and Veal Prices Up 20 Percent
A headline from CNN says it all. “Everything at the Grocery Store Is Getting More Expensive.”
Mainly responsible for this sticker shock is the pandemic. People are spending more time at home these days. And so they’re spending more for groceries.
Here are some of the recent increases for basic staples. Meat and poultry are up 11 percent overall. Beef and veal up 20.2 percent. Eggs up 10.4 percent. Fresh vegetables and cereals up 4 percent.
Admittedly, we’re spending less at restaurants and on entertainment than we used to. But we’re still exhausting more on food items and other supplies than before.
Supply Chain Issues Continue
For the most part, there is not a food scarcity problem in the U.S. The challenge is getting that food to market.
Supply chain disruptions have made it seem like food is scarce in some areas. And that’s what is driving up rates.
Some meat processing groups that closed their doors have reopened. But their operations are slower as a result of new safety policies.
Noel White is the Tyson CEO. He said some of his group’s facilities “continue to operate at decreased production levels.”
Price Gouging Isn’t Helping
Sanjib Bhuyan is an associate professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics. Here’s what he has to say.
“Food rates are rising not because we don’t have enough food. But mainly due to the fact that the agri-food supply chain is currently unable to deliver when and where food is needed.”
He added, “That’s due to the shortage of labor, particularly at farm level.” He’s holding out hope that the numbers will stabilize “as soon as the virus-induced restrictions are lifted allowing the agri-food supply chain to resume its normal functions.”
Making matters worse, some food sellers are gouging prices to take advantage of demand outpacing supply.
‘A Picture of Human Suffering’
There’s never a good time for food numbers to spike. But this is a particularly bad time. Because many Americans are out of work, thanks to the pandemic.
Millions of people are still applying for first-time unemployment benefits. Recently, 30 million Americans told the U.S. Census Bureau they did not have enough to eat at some point recently.
Food insecurity is defined as the inability to afford healthy food for all family members. Even before the pandemic, it affected 37 million U.S. households.
From March through June, food banks distributed nearly 2 billion meals. A Feeding America spokesperson said this. “The lines for food at emergency feeding sites offer a picture of the human suffering that data can only begin to explain.”
Food Pantries Are Swamped
In Queens, New York, people lined up at a food pantry for a quarter-mile recently. Many of them have been left jobless by COVID-19.
The pantry used to feed about 1,000 people weekly. Now it’s more than 10,000. And that’s just one food pantry.
A volunteer at the pantry told the New York Post this. “We feel like we are underwater. Drowning in a tsunami of people.
“This isn’t like a little rain coming down. The numbers are unbelievable.”
You Don’t Have to ‘Labor’ to Get Free Food
Self-reliance shouldn’t only be for wealthy Americans. Everyone deserves the peace of mind that comes from being prepared. No matter what walk of life you’re from.
The simple best thing you can to prepare is to be ready BEFORE strikes. Especially when it comes to food.
Both FEMA and the Red Cross suggest that every American have at least 72 hours of non-perishable food on hand.
But with COVID-19 continuing to disrupt the food chain and rumors of food shortages on the horizon, gaining “food security” is much easier said than done.
That’s why we here at 4Patriots want to get food into the hands of as many deserving Americans as possible. We have options to fit every household size and budget. To see our full line of nutritious food, designed to last 25 years, go here.