Food Prices Will Keep Rising. How Will You Cope?

By , SparkPeople Blogger
We've all seen our food bills rising for months. The outlook doesn't look good, according to this article.

Food prices will continue to rise:
Meat, poultry and fish will rise 3%. Fruits and veg will rise 5.5%. And the USDA has forecasted surges of 9.5% for cereals and bakery products, 14% for eggs and 13.5% for fats and oils. Food prices haven't increased this much in 18 years!
It's not just in the U.S. The UK and pretty much everywhere else in the world is facing the same problem.

(On a side note, if you're interested in comparing the average weekly diet in various countries, check out this slideshow. It's very interesting!)

Aside from eating less, what can or will you do to save money on food?

I, for one, am even more diligent about hitting the bulk bins for any food item I can, and I'm cutting back on the treats. I'm trying to stock up on farmers market produce and freezing as much of it as possible. (Last night I roasted red peppers; two weeks ago, I chopped and froze tomatoes.)

Here are some tips from SparkPeople members:
    "Eating whole foods is cheaper than eating processed foods. You can get a couple bags of chips for the same price as a 5 pound bag of apples. A cantaloupe costs as much as two chocolate bars, and you can get a box of Cream of Wheat for the price of a fast food meal."

    "Dry beans are a great, cheap source of protein and fiber. Once you soak them overnight, they cook quickly."

    "I've stopped using coupons on most groceries because they evened out the prices on a more expensive brand or tempted me to buy things I didn't need."

    "At the store we buy from bulk bins as much as we can, even buying teas, spices, and granola. We have a coffee grinder we use to grind whole spices, so we don't get both a whole and ground version of the same spice. We reuse our own spice jars, filling it up from the bulk bins."

Find out more ways that members save money on groceries, and share additional tips below in the comments section.

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Hello, we use Angel Food Ministries, Great Food For All and use a list for the other things. Gardening is also a big thing, farmers markets when we get near one in season is all we do. Family of four and we still eat for about 75 dollars a week. Without Angel Food we could not afford steak from time to time. Part of our dollars goes to pet foods so we do ok we think in this economy. Report
I find that the SP program has allowed me to save on products.I'm now contious of portions and quality of product.The farmer's market and health food store for bulk buying is great since I'm now saving money on packaging and shipping.There are 52 spices,granolas,seed snacks and additions like wheat bran that are a lot cheaper in bulk and now that I'm not eating 3 times as much I can afford them.I'm making as many product as possable this year and also starting canning,never done that before.I've always made breads,muffins etc...
Now I'm making ketchup,mustard and just stuff in general.Nothing like the flavor of homemade starter instead of packaged yeast.Fresh ricotta cheese is a snap.
I suggest to my SP friends to join,it's free for regular membership.There are a zillion recipes on anything you want to make homemade and just add your own touches/substitutions and create cheaper products by eliminating as many packaged products as possable.It helps the enviorment,if fresher,healthier and don't forget the little strokes from the family who appriciate your efforts.I like a little pat now and then......Chef Jim Report
I have only myself to feed, so rising prices don't have as much of an impact on me as it does on those trying to feed families. I eat about 85 percent healthy vegetarian--black bean chili, slip pea soup, main course salads, pasta, with lot of vegetabes, and such-- no junk food. Where I have cut down is on meals out, and then I choose inexpensive, small, family run ethnic restarants where a meal is much lower in cost. Plus, in my citiy, many restaurants off special deals to get people to come in, and I do get coupons for some restaurants I go to.

I don't use many food coupons, because I don't eat most manufactureed foods, but I do find a few for food and a number for Walgreens that I use. Also when my upscale market put items on "special," the prices are really low--loss leaders to get us to the store. Mostly I select only specials, which keeps my costs down. I'm also lucky that I'm not a picky eater, only a bug about quality. The best apple in season, a small amount of good sharp chedder, along with whole-grain crackers, and I happy. My food doesn't have to be fancy. I say somewhat jokingly that I'm in the food business, and I'm paid to be picky.

I also save money, because by the grace of Spark I don't eat as much. Now I eat a half of sandwich instead of whole, the bonus being that I get two meals from what used to be just one. A big burrito from my great, neighborhood is good for three meals. Of course, I alway compete these with a cup of soup, or a side salad or a piece of fruit. Report
I am a coupon queen & my co worker & neighbor bring me coupons. I cook for the week by buy chicken thighs, wings or quarters. I buy steaks but only 2 as we (a family of four) can share & with veggies viola, its a meal. I also buy frozen bag dinners & mix more frozen shrimp & veggies & buy french bread. Use my coupons whenever possible & that's at least $3-$8 per trip to the store. With a saving of almost $450 a year, I not ashamed at all. Oh, going to stores all in the same cluster on the same day or on my way. Report
I don't know what I'll do. I was forced to get FS and as a Single person they only allow me $77.00 for a whole month--it's insane! I'm on Worman's Comp and don't receive much every other week and SSI which barely allows me to pay my Cable and Utilities. Everything is going up but my pay check and FS. I don't find that coupons help me much when you need to buy 2 or 3 of one item for .35 off or .50 off. Even doubled it doesn't save me much if the item is $3-4.00. Report
I'm buying more and more vegs and fruit in bulk on sale, and making sure to eat it all and not let in spoil in the crisper when life gets busy! I'm cooking more whole wheat pasta and veggie meals, drink more water and rarely drink soda these days. I also am baking more, and I use coupons when it reduces the cost of something I need to almost nothing...they still double coupons here and it helps but you have to be careful not to overspend for items not really needed. I picked up some great tips from here, too. Report
Iv'e turned the heat down to 68* and if anyone touches the thermostat i'll kill them ( I sound like my father there). We walk instead of driving a lot, at least until the streets are icy. I tell my teenager NO a lot about things I used to say yes to and indeed as long as the quality is good I buy bulk, no brand names, and cheap. But lets face it you can only cheap out so much for certain items (like TP) you got to go with the good stuff. I'll buy fewer clothes & shoes, swimming will be much less often. Most of the activities we do in the winter to keep from going crazy in the very dark six month Alaskan winter will have to stop just so we can eat healthy. Report
in spite of the rising cost....i willl continue to buy fresh fruit and vegatables in place of pre packaged foods. I just have to cut my bidget somewhere else. Report
The way I look at it, with fuel costs rising, food prices are only going to go higher. Our family is cutting back on non-essentials and toward that end, I've begun using the SparkPeople nutrition log to plan out my meals a week in advance. There's a handy shopping list associated with the log - one that I can print out and bring with me to the store. That's helped cut down on impulse buying. Additionally, and like Shanihib mentioned above, I've reluctantly stopped shopping at the local farmer's market. The prices were just too high when compared to the local super chain markets. It's a sad state of affairs. Report
We have a really nice garden, and that's where we get most of our vegetables. Plus, I go to the local orchard and buy apples, peaches, pears and berries in large quantities for preserving. Not only is this a money saver for us, we have the added bonus of knowing there are no chemicals in our food. Report
I start buying store brand and it help alot.
When I was still eating bread, I bought it at the bread store,,there is a salvage grocery store near me called Blue Knight,, it is owned by a Deputy that retired with my dad,, they basically make trips down to the big stores in Detroit, Pontiac,etc and get things that may be torn packages, a slight dent in a can, or just near, or at expiration date. I buy John Morell hams for $.099/lb, Simply OJ for $1.29, bottled salad dressings for $.50 each!! They have canned goods, frozen, breads, paper and pet , boxed, HBA. THey also give senior discounts for 50 years or older.. I fill four big banana boxes for about$45-$60!!
I then go to Aldi to scock up on cnned veggies that I do not can myself,bagged salad mix that is still $.99!
I then go to Krogers on the way home(these stores are all within two miles of my home in a loop, so no out-of-the-way for me) that doubles $1 coupons; I have never left their store using less than $75 in coupons. Then they have in-store products(usually organic and meats) that are close to expiration for less than half price.
I cannot afford to go to WalMart that is supposed to be so cheap,, I have never found anything there that I cannot get someppace else for less..
I then take my register tape home, figure out hte amount I WOULD have spent elsewhere, and bank it! That difference paid for new windows, siding, gutters and gutter helmet, roof, and two new bathrooms, new furniture and washer, refrigerator and dehumidifier for our home in the past five years!!
I also barter my home made foods witha friend who has a huge garden,, we traded my homemade frozen jams for her cukes, carrots, tomatoes and green peppers, ,, I also get venison and use it to stuff the peppers for winter,,,
I mowed the neigbor's lawn, they gave me produce!!
When I was really desperate, I added stale bread crusts to my scrambled eggs to stretch them for my daughter and I.. add some water to that and it makes a lot,, I am not that bad off now, but it helped at the time!! Bartering is the best!! Report
We try not to waste any food. We used to do that... leftovers went right into the garbage. These days, I save leftovers for a different meal. Put them in soup or mix them with fresh ingredients for a different dish. There's very little we can do about the grocery bill keeps going up. But it's up to us to make the best out of the food we've purchased. Report
I saved and dried seeds this past winter from produce I bought at the grocery store like spaghetti squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, various peppers, water melon, etc.
We planted a container garden this summer from these seeds and it did just fine.
I plan on exchanging seeds with other people this winter, also.
I also planted the 'eyes' from my potatoes for the first time this year, too. I haven't dug them up yet but I'm pretty excited.
We 're planning on expanding our garden next year.

Make a meal plan for the week, make a list, shop farmer's market every week and when at the store, buy only whats on the list. Report
I coupon shop, our Kroger's still doubles coupon's up to $1.00. I also shop the sales and if it's really cheap I buy a lot and put it in the pantry in the basement.
I am also a big canner so I can most of our veggies and fruits. And we buy a 1/2 a cow and a whole pig every year. Pig dropped to $.50 a lb. Then my husband has a 2 deer per year requirement to fill the freezer. The only meat we buy is chicken, lunch meat and occassionally brats. That really helps with the grocery bill. For a family of 5 I don't know if we spend $200.00 a month and that includes paper and hygiene products. But the coupons is what helps with this.

We live in the country on 2 acres. We have a garden every year and can or freeze our veggies. We also have an orchard with apples, pears, plums, and cherries. We have chickens, turkeys, and a pig. We will butcher the pig next week for part of our meat. We also butcher a chicken or two a week and will eventually butcher the turkeys as well. We also have our chickens that we keep for eggs and an incubator that we use in the spring to hatch some eggs for the next years chickens for food. We always buy the generic or store brand of items at the grocery store as they are cheaper than using coupons on the higher priced items. Report
It should be very apparent now to people that they should grow at least some of their own produce. For those that have just 1 acre free, acouple chickens for eggs and a cow (for either fresh milk or meat) could be a great idea too! Getting our meat for less than 1.00 per pound, no matter what the cut, is great for us!!! Report
When our son moved out on his own we figured our grocery bill would go down....and it did the first month.....but now it's as high if not higher than when he still lived here.

I always make a list, take inventory of the pantry staples, snack items such as chips etc are kept to a minimum (my significant other doesn't eat like I do so I have to buy some for him) and a strong, conscience effort is followed to NOT make impulse buys. My trips take time (aside from the 45 min drive) because I read labels, compare prices, do the math etc but if I didn't I'm certain the bill would be even worse. My last trip I split into shopping for household/pet items and then went back for cost of each was fairly close and nothing extra was purchased, all items were needed/used. When at all possible, we buy bulk and farming friends are good to us every year with produce........we're planning our own garden for next year. Report
It is always a challenge well for the last 15 years it has been to feed myself well , I have been disabled for 15 years and live on 1000 a month. I have 100 a month to go towards groceries. If it were not for freinds who love me and bring me bags of groceries and or $ I would be running out of food half way through the month. I get most of what I eat at the local produce stand. I cook my beans and lentils by scratch using dried , I rarely buy bread I made 'pancakes ' from scratch using whole wheat and oat meal and flax and use these often in stead of a piece of bread , eat PB. It is challenging to get enough protein but that has always been the challenge for me since I am not real crazy about the way meat tastes. I don't drink Milk or eat cheese since I have allergies and really don't eat many eggs at all, I may use a dozen eggs in a month , more often than not use about 10.
Life is interesting.
1. Check out! I am trying this to help with my coupon maddness and I decide if it would be useful to stop by a drugstore on the way to the grocery store With my list and coupons in hand!
2. I am trying to also take less trips to the store.
3. I also go to the bread outlet (it is on the way to my store as well)!
4. Stick to the list! Report
I know how much food has gone up but you can still eat healthy. I shop for food items at the following stores and in this order...
1. I go to the the Dollar Tree...they have alot of cheap canned goods and ours also has some frozen and refrigerated items.
2. I then go to Dollar General. What I can't get at the Dollar Tree I find here.
3. I then go to Big Lots...again ours has a large variety of things and some of them even have frozen and refrigerated items.
4. that is the best place around here to save. Even though prices have gone up I can still get meats, dairy and fresh veggies cheaper here. I like to watch for the meats that are marked down...stuff that needs to be eaten that day or frozen for use later. I have gotten ground Turkey for $1/pound roll and when I can get it like that I stock up on it. You can get deals like that late at night or very early in the morning.
5. While the Farmers Markets are in full swing I try buying as much fresh stuff there when I find a great bargain.

Now this sounds like I am making a lot of miles doing this but actually I am near one or several of these stores every weekend when I am out paying bills or doing whatever so I make my stops when I am near them. I guess the bottom line is know your stores...when they mark down foods, what kind of sales they have etc etc.

I also have a short comment on the Angel Food Ministries...It is a great way to feed your family but if you are trying to stay away from processed foods (high fat, high calories etc etc.) then you have to be careful. But if you can eat some of the things that they provide then it is a good deal. Just don't cut yourself short on your nutritional goals. Report
It was getting to be a challenge, but sadly now I am alone so I can afford the groceries I need for me. Its awful how they raise prices overnight. I plan to plant a garden next spring and do some canning too. Report
Our food bill was more than it ever had been. And we just bought basics. It's worrisome Report
I live in a small town and we have a very small grocery store. Unfortunately it comes with high prices. So I spend the gas to drive 25 miles to the Walmart in the next town because what I spend in gas to get there and back is made up for in savings at the store. But one of the things that is going to help on my grocery bill is that my son is moving out in November and I'll no longer be feeding him. He's moving 1500 miles away.

I'm hoping when we get to move next summer that we can plant a garden and try to grow a few of our own veggies. But right now where I live it's too hot and too dry and even my flowers don't do good. Report
I have a really good memory for prices and we always shop at the same grocery store, and i have noticed that almost every item at our store has gone up 5-50 cents over time. I would love to be able to have a big garden to grow our own stuff. Next year I am definitely going to try to grow a few things like tomatoes in big pot outside, but something has to be done about this. It's a much bigger problem in other countries as well. A lot of it has to do with corn and biodiesel as well as the price of gas. We're using what is needed for food to make fuel for vehicles and it's hurting our world just as much as the regular gas would, if not more. Report
I think we have to get used to food prices going up. Did you know that while we passed the 6 billion population mark in about 1998, we are almost to 7 billion and are expected to hit that in 2012? And it will keep going up for some time. That much more demand can't easily be met by production expansion. Better plan ahead as to how you are going to cope. Report
Try AngelFoodMinistries if they have them in your area. It may sound like a food pantry for lower income people (of which I am currently, being unemployed) but anyone can buy the food, income requirements are not an issue. And it is CHEAP!! I'm trying it for the first time and ordering this weekend. $30 for food that should feed an average family of 3 or 4 for a week. Meat included, steak and chicken mostly.

You have to order it, pay at time of order, then pick it up on the pickup day (usually the end of the month) and ordering it is a little different depending on where you go, so check the local places that participate. They have quite a large menu and it's supposed to be very good food.

They usually value the store price at around $65, saving you $35. Can't beat that. Some of it may not be our first choices for heatly food. This month, there are french fries and mac'n'cheese included. But it's worth it if money is an issue.

You can also order a veggie box that sounds good and is currently $19. You must order at least one of the main boxes (bring your own tote at pick up) to order the specials. They also have Senior boxes with pre-cooked meals for senior citizens that are balanced meals. Just heat and serve. The link is It's worth a look anyway. Report
I live in a nice valley that is at least a 90 minute drive to other major towns. Since we are so far from other cities the grocery stores raise their prices every couple of weeks just because they can. Before we moved here 3 years ago I compared food prices at Walmart and other stores and the prices were similar. Then about 18 months ago all the stores started to raise prices little by little. Cheese went from $5 a brick to over $10 in a year. My parents still live back where I was comparing to so when I visit I stock up. The groceries literally cost half up north. It is worth the drive of 2 hours since I am already there I am not paying to drive just to get groceries. They have a Winco foods and that store is the best. I was able to make excellent homemade granola for really cheap versus buying the ingredients locally. Also our valley has very few things in the farmers market so I have to either buy my produce at the store or buy it up north. That doesn't work well since I only go up north once a month and most things don't stay fresh that long. Report
I've been buying direct from the farmers, rather buying meat and produce at the grocery store. Its better for both me and the farmer! And it lowers the"carbon footprint" of buying food trucked in from somewhere else. The growing season will be ending soon and I'll have to buy more of my greens from elsewhere but its been nice (and cheaper) while it lasted. I live in a condo or I'd plant a garden in the spring! We eat almost all whole foods, hardly anything processed, or with as little processing as possible. We avoid added sugars so we avoid most processed food. Of course our dairy is processed and our meat has been butchered. There are very few cans, bags, or boxes in our pantry, altho we do have a huge selection of dried spices. I even make my own ketchup. It is MUCH less expensive (and with much less SUGAR) than the stuff on the grocery store shelves. Report
I am mom to 4 kids, three of which are teenagers that cross country ski, in other words they burn a lot of calories....To meet these needs we hit the farmers market and stock up, we buy in bulk at Sam's Club(an hour drive), we actually make a once a month trip to the big city(2 hr drive-yes it is worth it for us), and stock up. I also make our own bread, daily, can fresh foods and freeze that which is in season. The other way I combat the food costs is once a month cooking, it truly enables me to "stock up" on those sale items. We are moving this fall and planning on having a garden this next summer to help with food as well, I guess you can say we will take whatever steps are possible. It does help that I enjoy cooking and my family loves to eat, hahaha!! Report
It's such a struggle. I haven't come up with a good strategy yet. It seems like we spend so much money at the store, but don't really get all that much for it. Report
We have an awesome discount and bulk food store out where we live called WinCo. I shop there and also use coupons from and the newspaper. Their prices are unbeatable even compared to other (so called) discount stores in our area and they have a wide selection of foods. My parents live in the City almost an hour away and they drive up here at least once a month to buy things in bulk because the prices are unbeatable. I also use a list and stick to it as much as possible while I'm at the store and check the cart one last time for unnecessary items before I check out. It helps to take my husband with me to the grocery store because he is Mr. Frugal. LOL. Report
We've had a garden in most of our backyard for 20+ years and can/freeze what we can't eat fresh. (It tastes so much better than grocery food.) We're also great fans of our local Farmers' Market and Food Coop. We buy in bulk to save on packaging costs and to purchase only what we need. We also focus on unprocessed foods (we love to cook!) which are MUCH MUCH cheaper than more highly processed foods. Report
We tried to grow a garden this year, but it was such a long, cold spring that we really couldn't get it going, so we just got a handful of stuff. My apple tree is loaded with tiny, hard apples. I think I'll plant some fall crops in a cold frame, though, and get a load of manure to spread out on the planting beds to perk for next year.

I wonder if lettuce would grow in a sunny window?

I try to shop the loss-leaders as much as I can, but the shelves are so picked-over, with everyone buying the cheapest stuff available.

My bread machine is nice. I can buy yeast in bulk, and then bread is really, really cheap.

Potatoes have doubled in price, but still the cheapest staple there is, and full of vitamins. My family loves them roasted in wedges, like steak fries. Report
We are in the process of preparing our grounds to grow our own vegetables and attempting to plant some fruits and things like that. It's not an immediate fix (then again what is?) but it's something to look forward to.

Also we are attempting to not so much as eat less food, but not waste any food. We cook the same amount of food, but make our portions smaller, as well as eating all of the food that we cook, whether for breakfast, or snack, or lunch at work! Report
basically my husband and I are just spending more money on food and gas. There are a few things we cut back a bit on, but we've already cut back so far just in general, that we don't really have anywhere else to cut back except to just NOT buy food or gas. Which isn't really an option! Report
I keep a watch on circulars and coupons. I use the printable coupons often if it's a brand I like. Unfortunately, living alone and in a one bedroom apartment makes it difficult to stock up or bulk shop at places like Costco. I'm fighting for cabinet and freezer space as it is, but my local target has Kashi on sale for 4 boxes of cereal or 4 frozen meals for $11, and if you buy 4 you get a $5 Target gift card, so I'm trying to stock up as best I can. It just isn't easy. Unfortunately, the cost of eating out is going up along with the cost of the ingredients. It's just so frustrating! Especially since the healthier foods are always more expensive than the junk. Report
I used to go to the grocery store and just buy what looked like a good idea. I would spend a ton of money, get home, and only have snack foods... nothing to make for dinner. I recently started planning out a recipe for every night, writing down the ingredients I need and shop for those ingredients. I end up spending less money all around, and then have less junk food around the house... its a win win situation. Report
During the harvest season many people have gardens so full they will gladly share. And offering a little $$$ helps as well. But I have found even with strangers, if you ask they would rather the fruits or veggies be used then to let them spoil. Apricots & Peaches this year were really abundant in my area and I just asked few neighbors if they would mind sharing. Many of them were not even using the fruit and were glad just to have the fruit picked instead of it being all over the ground. As for the store shoping...I watch ad's and find the best deals. chicken & pork go on sale often and I stock up. Veggies & Fruit will always need to be purchased but getting sales on other items helps to balance the cost out. Another suggestion if you don't have room for a garden but know someone who does. Share a garden... work up a schedule and split the cost & labor. Then reep the rewards of your hard work . It is well worth it. Report
I am struggling with grocery cost and gas costs. I did have a small garden and that is a big help. Some neighbors also gave me their vegetables. I cannot imagine buying grocery for teens and those with small children. Report
I don't do the bulk of the grocery shopping, but I shop for my lunch supplies for work. I get fresh (organic when available) veggies and fruits, whole grain cereals and breads, canned beans, brown rice (instant for at work), soy and skim milk, soy cheese. I will continue on this track as long as I can afford it. Report
I will keep an eye out for specials, but will continue to swallow hard and pay the price for fresh fruit & veggies. Living in Alaska, prices are high to start with, so in a sense I'm used to it. I'm just glad I don't live in the Bush where prices can be two and three times those in Anchorage. I would rather cut elsewhere in my budget than compromise on my food. Report
It's hard to compare prices on buying fresh to buying processed food, because people seem to forget that much of the process food is subsidized by the government, meaning that our taxes go to make it appear cheaper, but we don't really know how much it is costing us.

In any case, I am planning on starting a veggie garden like my neighbors to help offset some of the cost of buying veggies. Other than that, there isn't a whole lot I can do about the prices. Report
I have two cherry tomato plants and more tomatos than I know what to do with. I don't can, but would like to freeze them. I tried this one before and they ended up all covered with frost which was very unappetizing. Does anyone have tips as to how to freeze the fresh produce and avoid all the frost / freezer burn? Thansk! Report
I started using the Fresh n Easy market. They have weekly specials and fresh produce. Report
I only buy the Food Club label, or Valu label, foods, They are around .79 to 1.99, somethings are 2.99, You just have to really watch their pricing. Things on sale, but I never buy the brand name label anymore. They will price their selves right out of business, I think. Like everything else, people quit buying gas, not gas is going down. When people quit buying products that are too much they will evidually gone down, too. That's my story & I am sticking to it. Report
I agree with the person who said that buying fresh over processed food is more expensive. DH and I tried an "experiment" this week to see how much we could eat non-processed foods, and our bill for a week of groceries was $107. Usually we spend about $60-70 a week, so that's a huge difference. Maybe I'm just a bad shopper, but I try to be very aware of deals and compare prices, so I don't know what the solution is. Report
When there are sales, I stock up. Doesn't matter if its canned, boxed or fresh. Canned and boxed will last forever and fresh can be frozen or canned. I stretch meat by adding to it, be it healthy pasta or veggies (or both). I bake mini-cupcakes for my DD's lunch snacks. It can be done. Report
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