It’s been obvious in the UK for a while that “shrinkflation” is giving us less food for the same price, but thanks to climate change, failing economies and a supply system that’s been mauled by COVID-19, food prices across the world are shooting up dramatically.
According to this alarming Bloomberg article, surges in raw material costs in developing nations at the beginning of 2021 have resulted in the prices of staples increasing, with Indonesian tofu up 30% and one Brazilian mainstay, turtle beans, up 54% in price.
This squeeze will soon be felt in the developed world, too – longer and more complex supply chains, and more intensive food processing chains, usually mean that those costs can be cushioned, but not this time. Vastly increasing transport and packaging costs have already strained these systems to the point that it’s time to pass the buck on to the consumer, or some execs will have to have their bonuses reduced. And, I cannot stress enough, those execs would rather you starve to death.
So get ready for increased food prices, possibly forever, made worse by the friction and wastage of Brexit clogging our ports and lorry lanes. This is just the start. Something tells me we’re in for one hell of a decade.
Look into food resiliency and take steps to be as independent of the shops as you can. Good foraging might be able to help, but you’re most likely to be looking at small-scale farming and community food projects like keeping chickens or raising nutrient-dense vegetables in small plots.
A quick and inexpensive way to get started is the adorably pocket-sized Food For Free by Richard Mabey, which shows you some great options for keeping yourself fed and providing some flavour and variety without having to spend a penny. You might as well!
(I am not affiliated with Waterstones, I just love them)