Food prices to rise, MSUE says stock up
EAST LANSING – Michigan State University Extension educators are urging families to take proactive measures to anticipate the 3 to 4 percent rise in food costs forecasted for 2013. Educators are suggesting that families stock their pantries now and adjust their monthly budgets.
To begin that adjustment, Sarah Sleziak-Johnson, MSU Extension health and nutrition educator, suggests that families create a list of needs and wants. She defines a need as something one must have for comfortable survival, such as shelter, warmth, good health and food. A want is something that is not necessary to survive but is desired or deserved, such as a new car or a vacation. Once a family’s needs have been identified, the budget should be built around meeting them.
“This is a job for the family,” Sleziak-Johnson said. “If your family develops the budget together, everyone values it. Examining your family’s budget now will make it easier to make adjustments as you plan for the future.”
The next step is to consider what the U.S. Department of Agriculture refers to as the “3 P’s”: plan, purchase and prepare. Sleziak- Johnson suggests planning meals and food purchases on the basis of available coupons and store ads, preparing foods with what is on hand, and doing without meat a day or two during the week.
To stock a pantry efficiently, she recommends buying food items that have long shelf lives and buying in quantity when these items are on sale.
If a food can be stored safely at room temperature, it is considered shelf-stable. According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, non-perishable products include jerky, country hams, canned and bottled foods, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, spices, oils, foods processed in aseptic or retort packages and other products that do not require refrigeration until after opening.
“The USDA is a great resource for budgeting tips such as 10 Tips for Eating on a Budget, which suggests that going back to basics, buying in bulk and buying in season can be helpful to our wallets,” Sleziak-Johnson said.