Guest Author - Reshma Vyas
Consumers are definitely feeling the discomfort of higher food prices. The dynamics and pricing pressures in the food commodities market, agricultural and seasonal factors along with the soaring cost of food production and higher fuel costs to meet global demand have consumers spending measurably more on groceries. The spike in food prices goes well beyond grocery staples such as bread. Noticeable price increases for processed and prepared foods including restaurant meals have people digging a lot deeper into their pocketbooks. While consumers grapple with higher food prices, agricultural growers, food companies, retailers and wholesalers are also making adjustments to the increasing costs of raw food materials, production and transportation. Shrinking package size has always been one mechanism by which food companies can offset higher food production costs, for instance. The box of your favorite cereal may have shrunk in size but the price certainly hasn't. Not surprisingly, foods that have seen some of the biggest jumps in price are those that are commodity-based such as beef, milk and eggs
As we review the following list of foods that have seen remarkable price increases, we can clearly observe the enormous impact of the agricultural sector, specifically, the agricultural commodities market on human nutrition and well-being. The agricultural commodities sector encompasses canola, cattle, cocoa, coffee, corn, lean hogs, milk, oats, orange juice, rice, soybean oil, soybeans, sugar, wheat (both red wheat and spring wheat) and so much more. In short, it makes up the bulk of our food universe. And, what about all those other "little" foods derived from commodities such as corn and cocoa, foods like candy bars and corn chips which we consume and enjoy on a daily basis? It's hard to believe that the price of a "trivial" bag of corn chips could be so profoundly influenced by the complex interplay of agricultural, seasonal, social and economic factors within the corn commodities sector, but a fact nevertheless.
The Food List
1. Cocoa And Chocolate Products
• Baking chocolate.
• Cocoa mixes.
• Cocoa powder.
• It is nearly impossible to avoid chocolate! This lovable and addictive ingredient dominates the food industry and is present in an almost endless array of products such as baked goods, baking mixes, candy, chocolate syrups, powders and flavorings, dairy foods including chocolate milk, ice cream and frozen yogurt, flavored coffees, flavored protein powder, instant breakfast powders, packaged breakfast foods including "health" bars and granola bars, pudding and mousse mixes and the list goes on and on.
3. Grains (primarily corn and wheat but other grains are also included such as oats).
• Bread: all types including rye and pumpernickel.
• Pasta, noodles, elbow macaroni, etc.
• All types of cereals, both ready to eat and those which require cooking.
• Flours and meals: all-purpose flour, corn meal, oat flour, wheat flour, etc.
• Frozen foods such as fish sticks and pizza rolls.
• Bakery products.
• Breakfast and snack foods.
Be sure to read the food label for any wheat or grain derived byproducts or ingredients.
• Fish and seafood.
Read the label on any processed meat product to check for corn, wheat or soy derivative byproducts, fillers or extenders such as corn starch, soy lecithin or hydrolyzed soy protein.
• All types of cheese, including cheese products such as processed cheese and cottage cheese.
• Cream products: half & half, heavy and light whipping cream, sour cream, etc.
• Ice cream and frozen yogurt.
• Yogurt, both plain and flavored variety.
5. Fats And Oils: derived primarily from corn and soybeans to include margarines and spreads and cooking oils such as corn oil. Vegetable oil can be made from a single ingredient such as soybeans or a blend of various oils derived from plants and seeds. Soybean oil is used in a wide assortment of food products such as salad dressings.
6. Fresh Fruit And Vegetables: this includes vegetables such as potatoes which have historically been regarded as "cheap".
7. Peanut Butter.
9. Some Canned Foods Such As Pumpkin.
10. Sugar. Pay scrupulous attention to refined sugars such as high fructose corn syrup which is readily found in a wide gamut of processed foods and beverages (specifically soft drinks and sugary juices).
11. Walnuts And Other Nuts.
12. Miscellaneous: orange juice, milk and cheese products derived from soybeans.
For informational purposes and not intended as advice. Information current at time of publication (2012). Every attempt is made at accuracy, however, the writer does not claim that the content is free of factual errors.