I imagine that everyone has noted the price of food is rising. Some things have gone up sharply in the last year - meat, eggs, milk, cheese, and wheat to name a few.
We buy our bread from the local Macey's grocery store. They have an in-house bakery that produces some decent bread. For the first 5 years we lived here, that wholesome, preservative free wheat bread was 99 cents. Last fall it nudged up to $1.09. Everything goes up in price over time - so it wasn't a big deal at first. Since then I've watched the price go up dramatically, to my chagrin. The latest hike was a shocker though; in two weeks, the price went up from $1.39 to $1.69.
Yeah, I know that's still cheap compared to what some of you may pay, but that's not really the point. My point is the relative increase in price - 69% in the last six months. How much more will it go up? When I came home and mentioned to Tom how much the price had jumped, he asked me, "So how high will the price have to get before you begin baking your own?"
Good question. I haven't figured that out yet.
I participate in a couple of online LDS forums, and there has been a lot of talk about food storage and the price of commodities. They've discussed how wheat is all but impossible to find anymore, even at the church canneries, because people are buying it up in a panic. World wheat stocks are very low right now. If the yield this fall is again reduced by drought, as it was last year in Australia and Russia, the supply could become very tight indeed. Today, one guy reported that in the last six weeks, a 50 lb bag of long grain rice rose from $10.15 to 17.68, with worldwide shortages predicted for the coming year. In my short life, I've never been aware of a worldwide food outlook this grim. Certainly nothing that has affected the good life here in the U.S.
And then I went downstairs to my family "store" and got out some rice and beans that I bought several months ago when they were cheap. I looked round at the buckets and cans of wheat, oatmeal, flour, sugar, oil, etc. that make up our year's supply. And then I said a quick prayer of thanks to the Lord for prophets that have counseled us since before I can remember to lay up extra food for hard times. I watch the news and furrow my brow at the trends, but I am somewhat insulated from the increases in the price of these staples. And that brings a lot of peace.
Now here's where I get preachy: Most everyone will be receiving a tax rebate in May or June. Whatever your plans for that money are, I would encourage you to consider using at least part of it to get your food storage up to date if you haven't already.
Prices are not likely to come down much if at all in the short term, and are likely to continue to go up. Please do whatever you have to do, short of going into debt, to set some food aside. You'll be glad you did.