Food inflation is a sad reality that isn’t going away soon and you need to learn to cope with it as soon as you can. Whatever may be the reason, natural or man-made, food inflation is making even basic food items costlier. In just a few years the cost of basic foods have increased by 300% to 400% even in stable economies.
So how do you cope with food inflation?
It depends a lot on what you mean by “coping”. Food is something you cannot compromise on. Whether you’re arranging food for yourself, for your family or for your children, you have to bring nutritional food to the table every day, no matter how worse the food inflation gets.
The problem with today’s situation is that our food supplies depend on different market conditions as well as international situations. This was not the case a few decades ago when local economies, even town-based and village-based economies, controlled the food supplies. One didn’t have to go very far in order to obtain nutritious food.
As population increases and more and more people move towards cities in search of better opportunities providing food locally logistically becomes impossible.
Coping with food inflation basically means taking care of your family’s nutritional requirements. On a daily basis your body requires carbohydrates, proteins, fat, minerals and vitamins. Various foods provide these nutrients in a balanced manner but it doesn’t mean you have to go for expensive food purchases in order to keep and maintain a healthy body and mind.
Stop eating junk food
Junk food not only unnecessarily increases your food costs it also makes you unhealthy and hence less equipped for long-term health issues. Instead have fruits and vegetables for snacks and that too local fruits and vegetables because they are less expensive and easily available.
Buy local food
As already mentioned above local food is easily available and it is less expensive and normally it is not affected by food inflation. No money has to be spent on transportation, long-term refrigeration and maintenance. Besides getting it cheaper you also help local farmers and food producers and this further brings down the food inflation rate.
Store dried vegetables and fruits
Old grannies used to do that. This way you can have seasonal fruits and vegetables even when they are out of season. Simply cut them in small pieces and let them dry under the sun. Once all the moisture is gone you can store them in air-tight bags and containers. Then whenever you have to cook them, simply take them out and cook them as regular freshly cut vegetables.
Keep close watch on the low-cost days
There are certain days on which food items are sold at a lower price whether to clean up the inventory or some other accounting related affair. Every food outlet or mall has such days.
Avoid visiting food outlets
Food in restaurants and hotels is anyway expensive whether there is food inflation or not but during inflatory times the prices are further increased. It is simple waste of money. The amount of money that you may spend on a particular dinner outing may sustain you for a couple of weeks at home providing a much healthier meals.
Create a food fund
Just as you may have health fund or education fund while creating your domestic budget you must also introduce a food fund to save cash for long-term food availability. This way even if the cost of food skyrockets you will not be in crisis. But it doesn’t mean you don’t look for alternatives. Food inflation occurs because we all suffer from this herd mentality and try to eat whatever everybody else is eating.
Make coping with food inflation a family affair
You don’t need to alarm your kids but get them involved in planning and execution. Tell them how important it is to keep healthy food on the table and also tell them how expensive it is becoming. Involve them in the decision-making and ask for solutions. Sometimes kids can come up with exceptionally brilliant solutions. It will also keep everything synchronised because everybody in the family will be in the loop.
Grow your own food
It may seem like a drastic measure in the beginning but actually it can be a fun activity that can also bring your family closer. If you have a garden instead of keeping it just as a showpiece you can grow vegetables on it. Many people also grow vegetables in pots and buckets over the rooftops or on the terraces; some even grow food items in their balconies. You just need to be creative. It may not help you much but if you make a beginning who knows where it will end?
Stuff yourself with healthy food whenever you can
You may also call this the “starvation mode”. When animals and humans are faced with starvation they don’t wait for hunger to strike or tasty food to come by. They eat whatever is healthy and edible and tolerably tasty.
Don’t waste food
Tragically (especially in the first world countries) between 60-70% food is thrown away. This is a criminal waste especially when in other parts of the world people are dying of hunger. If you don’t want to eat your food why waste it? Even if you can afford it you’re still using the precious and limited resources the world has to offer. Food inflation is many times caused due to shortage of food and this shortage can be real and artificial. Artificial food inflation is caused when food is unnecessarily wasted. Fill your plate carefully. Cook your food in such a manner that you don’t have to throw it away.
There are circumstances sometimes that are beyond our control and there might be situations when you are not able to cope with food inflation as it has happened many times in the past to people from different countries, the more self-reliant you are the better you will equipped to deal with the situation. The key is, be prepared when there is no emergency.