12 September 2009

Prices of Food Staples Soar

On January 27 this year, I mentioned that the price of a single loaf of (whole wheat) bread, previously the least expensive in the store and made daily by a local grocer, had risen over the previous six months from $0.89 to $1.39. That same bread today is ON SALE for $2.00, which means this single staple food has gone up, over a 15 month period, by over 225 percent.

Among the ironies: the price of a 5 kg bag of whole wheat bread flour has remained constant over the same period. It can be purchased - on sale, at this grocer or regularly, at another store beyond walking distance - for $10.

Thanks to friend Daphne, I acquired a used bread maker awhile back. Now I make my own bread. But with all food staples going up, including rice, whose price also has more than doubled, now I'm thinking of cutting out all grains except my morning oatmeal. A large bag of that, for the time being, continues to sell for less than bulk price. (You really have to watch those bulk prices. They're frequently double the prices for the equivalent packaged product.)

It no longer makes sense, in other words, for the traditional staples to be considered, well, 'staples'. It now makes as much sense to make lettuce or other leafy green wraps, instead of bread sandwiches, and for this vegan to use low-cost legumes or pulses (e.g., I can get green lentils here for $2.10/kg) instead of rice. And I've already latched onto Daphne's idea of sprouting my own food, including from those same green lentils. My first batch is sprouting as I type.

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