Episode 318 S10-9
The Bitter End Ch 9
Sara F. Hathaway
Have you noticed the increase in your grocery store bill? How about when you go out to eat? Food inflation is already here, and the shortages are going to persist for a while. Are you ready for food shortages? Today, we look at the real-time inflationary numbers and some of the causes for these increases. Plus, in The Bitter End adventure, food shortages are on the top of the list for everyone alive on planet earth.
The USDA reports that food prices are up 3.4% higher than in July of 2020. Restaurants have seen an increase of 4.6%, and at-home bills are 2.6% higher. Fresh fruit took the most considerable increase and is up 4.9%. It’s a great time to plant some fruit trees and bushes. Fresh veggies only went up by .4%, but no food items on the list decreased since 2020. The forecasts for 2022 don’t look much better. Food at home is expected to increase another 2.5%, and restaurants are looking at another 3-4% increase.
The most significant increases from 2020 were in the protein markets. Beef and veal are up 9.6%, pork is up 6.3%, and poultry is up 5.6%. You may remember I did a show on the corporatization of the meat markets. I believe this is a direct market modification of that change. You can check out that show here: https://www.authorsarafhathaway.com/Changing-Earth-Podcast/Episode-262-S7-24
In one month in 2021 (June – July), Beef and Veal saw a .5% increase; pork saw a whopping 2.2% increase, and chicken saw a 1.9% increase. Fish and seafood are also up 1.5% over 2020. Dairy prices are expected to increase by 1-2%, fats and oils 3-4%, and sugars and sweets 2-3%. No doubt the sugars and sweets are due to the horrible growing year that Brazil just sustained.
The consumer price index for “all items,” including food, housing, and transportation, saw a 3.2% increase from 2020 to 2021. This increase is 50% higher than the average annual inflation, and these upward trending numbers are expected to continue into 2022. With the price of everything going up, how will we afford to stay fed?
The government is not reacting appropriately. They are making programs to encourage farmers to grow carbon-capturing plants in their fields rather than food. Luckily, the incentives are not substantial enough to warrant the change over at this time. However, Democrats are trying to earmark more funds towards “eco-conscious” programs like this. With the USA being a dominant exporter of food items, one must wonder how the world’s food supply will sustain itself if we cut production.
The United States’ food exports are expected to be a $177.5 billion industry in 2022. That is up from $173.5 billion in 2021. The biggest exports are soybeans, cotton, and horticultural products like tree nuts. Along with these staples, livestock, dairy and poultry are forecasted to increase from $400 million to $36.8 billion in 2022. This increase is due primarily to the improvement in Chinese lifestyles. As their living situations improve, meat is a viable option for dinner. Experts predict exports to China will increase to $39 billion, which is $2 billion more than 2021.
The USA, China, Mexico, and Canada lead the world in food exports with greater than $20 billion in exports. The USA, Canada, EU, England and Mexico import the most food. Each one of these countries imports over $20 billion respectively. China still exports more than it imports.
If shipping problems persist, the situation will only get worse. Right now cross country freight costs about $12,500, increasing from $7,000 to $9,000 a couple of years ago. The shipping container shortage persists as well. The world produces about 5.4 million 20 foot containers yearly, but the “container dislocation” problem has left many missing. Where are they going? No one seems to know. In just one week, from 2 Aug. to 11 Aug.,the price went from $16,000 to ship to $20,000. Containers are produced mainly in China. The Camerican senior director of the global supply chain, Michael Murph, has said that the situation is likely to continue into mid-2022.
Current global weather conditions and virus “variants” are not helping the problem. The Delta variant hit Asia, making it hard to staff shipping vessels. Deadly floods in China and Germany, amongst many other countries, have further fueled the global food supply. In China, coal shipping has also been severely affected when this commodity will be in much higher demand.
The biggest food producers in the world have all taken extreme hits to production. The USA has seen droughts in the west, floods, and untimely frost in the central regions. China has had severe flooding and earthquakes. They will be consuming most of what they produce. India has seen massive flooding, and they also consume most of what they make. Brazil saw severe drought, followed by freezes and snowfall affecting crop production.
The signs are evident, food inflation will continue, and shortages are on the horizon. Anything you buy today will be well worth it because the price tomorrow will only get more expensive. If you require long-term food supplies to ensure your family stays fed, please consider purchasing from http://www.preparewithchangingearth.com. Not only will you be providing for your family, but you will also help ensure this podcast can fund itself into the future as well.
“Summary Findings.” USDA ERS - Summary Findings, www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/food-price-outlook/summary-findings.aspx.
“Food Inflation in the United States (1968-2021): US Inflation Calculator.” US Inflation Calculator |, 14 Sept. 2021, www.usinflationcalculator.com/inflation/food-inflation-in-the-united-states/.
Chang, Samantha. “With Food Shortage Only Getting Worse, Biden Urges Farmers to Take Fields out of Production to Slow Climate Change.” The Western Journal, 1 July 2021, www.westernjournal.com/world-faces-food-shortage-biden-pushes-american-farmers-take-fields-production/.
“Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade.” USDA ERS - Outlook for U.S. Agricultural Trade, www.ers.usda.gov/topics/international-markets-us-trade/us-agricultural-trade/outlook-for-us-agricultural-trade/.
Campbell, Chris. “Shipping Quagmire Persists, and Could Stretch Well into 2022.” The Food Institute, 12 Aug. 2021, foodinstitute.com/focus/shipping-quagmire-persists-and-could-stretch-well-into-2022/.
Person, and Muyu Xu Jonathan Saul. “Global Supply Chains Buckle as Virus Variant and Disasters Strike.” Reuters, Thomson Reuters, 26 July 2021, www.reuters.com/business/global-supply-chains-buckle-virus-variant-disasters-strike-2021-07-23/.
Ross, Sean. “4 Countries That Produce the Most Food.” Investopedia, Investopedia, 28 July 2021, www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/100615/4-countries-produce-most-food.asp.
The Changing Earth Series
Sara F. Hathaway
Author Sara F. Hathaway is an individual with an insatiable urge for learning. She grew up in the woods of Michigan, fishing, hunting, gardening, canning, and horseback riding with her family. She loved to learn about the stories of times past from her great grandparents and grandparents. She learned about a time much different from our own when a trip to the grocery store was not all it took to make sure your family was fed. She delighted in the outdoors and learning how to survive there without the trappings of modern life.