Have rising food prices affected your spending?

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bostonimproper
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:45 am

Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by bostonimproper »

Late to the party, but I was looking through my net worth changes the past few months and noticed my food spending has been steadily rising. Digging in, it looks like the cost of food has gone up, even for the same items month to month (which I normally wouldn't expect for the summer). Which, I guess is a phenomenon the media has noticed as well.

Have y'all seen the changes to your food spending since the pandemic began? Are you doing anything special to combat it?

RunFastBeKind
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Joined: Sat Jun 06, 2020 7:11 am
Location: USA

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by RunFastBeKind »

Yes!

I also noticed this... simple staple foods like eggs and bread have gotten more expensive for me, as well. I think I'm going to start keeping a log of prices of the main foods I buy (which in regular times would also help to identify loss leaders) so I can see what foods are losing value compared to others, etc.

The cost of meat seems to have risen disproportionately, so while I already ate much less meat than average, it's currently gone from my diet to further reduce cost.

Would be very interested in what everyone else is doing, too!
Last edited by RunFastBeKind on Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

jacob
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by jacob »

Haven't noticed. We eat very little in terms of animal products and during the summer/fall our garden provides most of our produce. Maybe we'll get sticker shock once we move into winter/spring. Since the pandemic, we've started buying more in bulk (20-50lbs bags) and gallon sized containers of oil. IIRC we've shopped for groceries a total of six times since early March.

ThriftyRob
Posts: 124
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by ThriftyRob »

The supermarkets here stopped running promotions while there was a run on eggs, flour, pasta, toilet rolls, etc. So prices didn't go up but the shopping basket was more costly. Since July, promotions have returned so we are able to make savings again by stocking up on products which are on offer.

AnalyticalEngine
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Joined: Sun Sep 02, 2018 11:57 am

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by AnalyticalEngine »

I've definitely noticed them going up. It's even more so explicit at restaurants. I'm sure many people here don't go to restaurants for obvious reasons, but I remember that restaurant lunch used to cost ~$12, whereas now it's often ~$16+ (first world problems, I know).

I've been trying to cook more at home anyway, so while that hasn't impacted me a ton, prices on food are definitely higher now. I try to stick to basic staples as much as I can. Even if carrots are now $0.20 more, that's a lot better than the ~$5 you're looking at for a restaurant meal.

Alphaville
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Alphaville »

i haven’t noticed, doing mostly online orders. eggs, butter, and frozen veggies are the same price. i never eat out—much less these days.
Last edited by Alphaville on Sun Aug 02, 2020 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.

bostonimproper
Posts: 288
Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:45 am

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by bostonimproper »

@AnalyticalEngine I, a profligate spender for these forums, have also noticed it a lot more acutely for restaurants. I was itching for an Impossible burger yesterday and what was normally a $12 item was $16 (and that's not even for real meat). It was shocking.

Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Seppia »

Our food spending went up about 1.5x during the pandemic, as a result of three effects:

1/ An increase in the number of meals: I usually travel 50% of the time, and the kid has now started eating something other than mother's milk.
2/ Less promo activity in the supermarkets. With less people going out they have seen their volumes explode and hence have less need to promote. We buy almost all our CPGs on promotion
3/ A shift towards more indulgent spending (only during the lockdown): we needed to cuddle ourselves a bit, so the 5euro wine became a 8euro wine, the occasional skirt steak became a filet etc. We traded up a bit.

We had no effect on restaurants/take out because we do it very rarely in any case

Laura Ingalls
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Laura Ingalls »

I noticed food prices went up for awhile (eggs especially) and often the cheapest brand of a shelf stable item had a giant hole not actual product. Shopping the flyers was a waste as the stuff wasn’t there. A list was a mere guide and I often had to readjust on the fly.

I really think things have mostly stabilized. It’s more business as normal except with masks.

Seppia
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Location: Italy

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Seppia »

If you have the time, and/or shop certain brands repeatedly, look up how reliant the company is on retail VS out of home sales.
The less they rely on OOH, the more they will be likely to keep average selling prices higher for the remainder of the year*

1/ they don't have to make up for the lost sales in the OOH division.
2/ they are most certainly well above budget, so no reason to cut prices to drive volume.
Store brands are a textbook example of this, so if you mostly buy private labels, expect higher prices.

Among the companies where OOH represents a big chunk of revenue:
- those who play in a high margin environment may decide to promote more aggressively than usual on the back half of the year to make up for lost OOH numbers. Examples here may be confectionery, ice cream, spirits, any premium product.
- those who play in a commoditized environment will have to cut promotions to protect the bottom line. Think olive oil/vegetable oils, canned vegetables, pasta, rice, etc.

*this means till December 2020 or March 2021 depending on how their "year" is calculated

EDIT: all the above will likely play out in reverse the next year as most companies' budgets are calculated based mostly on prior year performance regardless of the externalities

Frita
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Frita »

Our grocery prices have increased 40%. Staples’ prices have increased. Bulk bins are gone. We also continue to have shortages and often have to buy smaller when items are available (i.e., only 5# bags of flour available, used to buy 25#). There were a couple months where I bought what I could, which was more convenience items (i.e., pasta mix because there was no pasta available). I shop less frequently to limit my exposure. The grocery store just started having sales again so I can take advantage of loss leaders and seasonal items instead of everyday low and inflated prices. Finally, we have been eating more treats and convenience items. (This has kicked my menopausal butt. I am trying to resume my usual eating pattern and workout routine without beating myself up.)

But overall our food costs are only up about 20% for the above reasons. We are not going out to eat or for happy hour so that saves money. Our teen gets one free meal per shift (3-5 shifts/week, though he typically skips this a day or two a week). He sometimes eats the whole thing but also brings the leftovers home for the next day. Eating this much restaurant food has cured him of asking to eat out. :) When he works late, we drive to pick him up to avoid walking/biking when it is dark (There is a major party culture here late at night. We don’t want him coming home alone under those circumstances). We have established that we’re swapping food for transportation. He’s commented that if he was paying his own way, this meal benefit would cover a good chunk of his food needs. The restaurant also lets him have free drinks so he’s getting a bit addicted to soda. :(

George the original one
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by George the original one »

Some shortages and lack of variety have meant increased food prices here on the Oregon coast. Beef is stupid expensive, chicken is a bargain, pork is about the same as last year, produce has moved back to seasonal bargains with staples being inflated, bargain baked goods no longer exist however the name brands are doing occasional sales.

Kriegsspiel
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Kriegsspiel »

I've been keeping a pricebook for several years now, and my staple food costs have remained about the same. For instance, I bought eggs for $1.49 in February, which is the same price I bought them for 3 years ago. I've been buying Optimum Nutrition whey protein for over a decade, and it's had essentially the same price the whole time. Meat is about the same price too. With meat especially, when I see it at certain prices I stock up with a couple weeks worth, in which time I'll usually see another good deal and stock up again. Milk also fluctuates wildly. Heavy cream I'm consistently buying for cheaper than I was years ago.

This is granular data though, since I've lived in a few different locations and shop at different stores. YMMV.

classical_Liberal
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by classical_Liberal »

I noticed it back in April. It was a combination of higher prices for some staples (eggs, as was pointed out, was a huge jump), and lack of availability of many things I buy (large quantity base items sold out, also pointed out). I can see how having to substitute would have costed much, much more. I chose to just "ride it out" and go through my supplies. This turned out to be the right move, because things were mostly back to normal by the end of May. I haven't really noticed a difference since then, beyond normal fluctuations I always see. I've been able to substitute for those as normal.

saving-10-years
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Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by saving-10-years »

My food costs have risen significantly in term of total spent at checkout/visit because we are shopping less frequently and
a) we unexpectedly have another adult living with us - because DS is now home from Uni and was here the whole of last term and still here now. If he gets a job which is home working or one that is relatively local he will likely remain living here rather than finding a room in a shared house as that is not a great option right now. Once he is working he will contribute to his food costs. I imagine this - children returning to the roost as a result of lockdown+ will be replicated in other households also.
b) I would normally shop around (or defer purchase to the next shopping trip) if items were only available in the expensive brands/varients. But because shopping is only twice a month currently I can't always wait to buy later. I am also trying to stitck with one supermarket whose social distancing measures I understand and whose stock layout I am familiar with. This reduces the amount of time in store hunting for things. So I am spending more than I would in this respect.
c) This is offset but also affected in terms of total spend by buying things in bulk (eg. flour in 16kg and 25kg bags). Baking bread rather than buying it and buying staples in bulk reduces the price per kg but its a big increase in the food budget. (I am collaborating with friends who live locally to get delivery from the flour mill by meeting the min spend for free shipping. I also have split 25kg sacks with these friends and bought stuff like yeast, oats, seeds in bulk. (An extra cost is buying some food storage suitable for bulk flour etc).

So my food budget is significantly different but I expect that overall we are spendng about the same as usual. We also seem to be wasting less and eating the fridge bare by the time we shop next which is helpful. I wish I had kept a price book and I may start doing this.

Another thing which should eventually positively affect spending is that we are making our own baking powder and less frequently used stuff like buttermilk and sour cream (we already were making our own self-raising flour). We are now growing all our salad and green vegetables (this would not usually be the case).

Alphaville
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Alphaville »

my monthly expenses have gone way up as i’ve been building a shelf-stable 6-month stockpile. but i have not seen prices go up really. i did skip eggs at the start of the pandemic, now i buy midgrade large eggs, fairly decent ground beef, store brand butter, etc, and prices have not gone up—not yet anywyay.

i remember a post somewhere here early in the pandemic—i think it was jennypenny’s?—discussing current (back then) and future (now) expected supply chain disruptions, and after a bit of research i bought accordingly.

if anything, some of my amazon subscriptions have become cheaper (but other stuff is just gone). costco orders, same price as before. supermarket basics, same as before.

all hard to predict, but there’s some awesome information exchange in this message board that has proven invaluable to me in recent months.

Scott 2
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by Scott 2 »

Our spending is up for sure. We have data as a couple going back to October 2019:

Image

With the pandemic, we switched to 100% delivery and are tipping 15-20%. I've also stock piled around a dozen bottles of whisky, and we are buying more prepared foods. Higher prices may have some small impact, but it is mostly behavior changes IMO.

NuncFluens
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Location: Bavaria, Germany

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by NuncFluens »

I was only affected in the beginning when cheap, store-brand staples were sold out and I had to get fancy canned vegetables. After the initial run on canned veggies everything returned to normal, though. My go-to supermarket actually added products that I had to source from more expensive stores before (rice-milk and such), so I guess I'm spending slightly less.
A possible confounder might be that I've reduced my meat intake for non-covid reasons. Although we had a major corona-outbreak in one of the biggest meat packing plants in Germany, so those prices went down, too :/

llorona
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by llorona »

Our food spending has shot up. In March and April, it was hard to find to basics, so we scooped up whatever we could find regardless of cost. We also starting eating more for comfort and convenience, including stuff like chocolate and wine.

These days, supply seems to have stabilized. We've cut out frozen meals and junk food in favor of cooking with fresh ingredients. Spending is still up, though, because we've been ordering from a mainstream grocery store and picking up our food once every week or ten days.

Previously, we did most of our shopping at a local mom and pop store that's akin to a poor man's Whole Foods. Shopping two or three times a week worked for us and helped reduce food waste. We'd figure out what we wanted to eat for dinner that night, then DH would go to the store to buy it.

I've noticed prices going up slightly. For instance, eggs held stable at $3.19/dozen for many years and now they're $3.39. We don't eat much beef, pork, etc. so couldn't speak to the cost.

horsewoman
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Re: Have rising food prices affected your spending?

Post by horsewoman »

@nuncFluens there is also the temporary reduction of the sales tax to be considered in Germany. Whilwe I don't think it is the great panacea our fearless leaders try to sell it for, most grocery stores do pass the reduction on to customers.

That being said, personally I didn't notice any increase in money spent for food. My pantry was well stocked before the quarantine, so I only topped it up a little bit, and staying out of shops a lot since then helped with saving even more.
Last edited by horsewoman on Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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