Not only the gasoline price is getting higher these days, the food price has increased too, as much as more than 100% for the past 1 year. Staples like wheat and rice, which millions of people, be them poor or rich, depend on them daily, become more expensive and made lives tougher. If you often do grocery shopping yourself, you realize that eggs and bread have become expensive too for the past 12 months. From Yemen to Haiti or Bangladesh, high food prices have sparked protests in many countries around the world.
Here are some of the food prices in the US in May 2007 and 2008 for comparison:
|Beans, Dry Edible||Cwt||$3.08||$5.06||64.29%|
|Peas, Dry Edible||Cwt||$10.10||$16.40||62.38%|
Few possible reasons of food getting more expensive:
- As more countries are developing, living standard has improved. When people become better off, they start to eat better. They eat more meat, which livestocks are fed on grain. They also eat more meals a day. Instead of eating one plate of rice per day, people may eat two now. So, stronger global demand for food and together with the growing population have made things worse.
- Severe droughts in major wheat-producing countries from Australia to Central Europe have damaged destroyed wheat crops.
- High oil prices are pushing up the costs along the entire food production chain. Higher oil price means more expensive to produce and ship goods. Someone needs to pay for the extra cost and in most cases, end consumer is the one who pays.
- In order not to rely mainly on oil, in the last few years large agriculture-producing countries have started growing corn and sugarcane to create ethanol, and oil crops to create biodiesel, as an alternative to petrol.
- Similar with oil, food (wheat and rice) are traded on financial markets, which means that these items are susceptible to speculation and volatility of the markets.
For me, I do not even dream on buying organic food which is even more expensive. I have to make conscious effort to cut back more expensive food. In a way, it is a good thing. No more unnecessary ice cream or soda in my fridge nowadays, not even for guests at home. One of my neighbors are planning to start her own little backyard garden, growing veggies which are expensive to buy. Female friends are cutting down chocolates and other junk foods which is a good thing and I look forward to seeing them slimming down.
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs has clearly said that food is one of the most basic needs. No matter how expensive my food bill is, I still have to eat. Even if the price goes up to the roof, I have no choice but to give up my magazine subscription, Internet service at home or any other nice to have things.
Life is tough nowadays, isn’t it?
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