Ready For The Price Of Food To More Than Double By The End Of This Decade?

Tyler Durden's picture

It's not just beef, pork, shrimp, eggs, and orange juice...

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

Do you think that the price of food is high now?  Just wait.  If current trends continue, many of the most common food items that Americans buy will cost more than twice as much by the end of this decade.  Global demand for food continues to rise steadily as crippling droughts ravage key agricultural regions all over the planet.  You see, it isn't just the multi-year California drought that is affecting food prices.  Down in Brazil (one of the leading exporters of food in the world), the drought has gotten so bad that 142 cities were rationing water at one point earlier this year.  And outbreaks of disease are also having a significant impact on our food supply.  A devastating pig virus that has never been seen in the U.S. before has already killed up to 6 million pigsEven if nothing else bad happens (and that is a very questionable assumption to make), our food prices are going to be moving aggressively upward for the foreseeable future.  But what if something does happen?  In recent years, global food reserves have dipped to extremely low levels, and a single major global event (war, pandemic, terror attack, planetary natural disaster, etc.) could create an unprecedented global food crisis very rapidly.

A professor at the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University named Timothy Richards has calculated what the drought in California is going to do to produce prices at our supermarkets in the near future.  His projections are quite sobering...

  • Avocados likely to go up 17  to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
  • Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
  • Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
  • Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
  • Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
  • Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
  • Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
  • Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

So what happens if the drought does not end any time soon?

Scientist Lynn Ingram, who has studied the climate history of the state of California extensively, told CBS News that we could potentially be facing "a century-long megadrought" in California.  If that does indeed turn out to be the case, we could be facing huge price increases for produce year after year.

And it isn't just crops that are grown in the United States that we need to be concerned about.  As NBC News recently reported, the price of cocoa is absolutely soaring and that is going to mean much higher prices for chocolate...

As cocoa prices surge to near-record highs on demand for emerging markets, chocoholics brace for a hike in price – and maybe even a different taste, as chocolate makers hunt out cheaper ingredients.

 

Cocoa futures are up 10 percent so far this year, hitting almost £1,900 on ($3,195) a ton in March. Last year prices rose 20 percent.

In fact, experts are now warning that chocolate may soon become a "high-end luxury item" because it is becoming so expensive.

Meat prices are also starting to spiral out of control.

A virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea has pushed pork prices up to new all-time record highs.  It has already spread to 27 states, and as I mentioned above, it has already killed up to 6 million pigs.  It is being projected that U.S. pork production will decline by about 7 percent this year as a result, and Americans could end up paying up to 20 percent more for pork by the end of the year.

The price of beef has also soared to a brand new all-time record high.  Due to the drought that never seems to let up in the western half of the country, the total size of the U.S. cattle herd has been declining for seven years in a row, and it is now the smallest that is has been since 1951.

If the overall price of food in this country increases by just an average of a little more than 12 percent a year, it will double by the end of this decade.

What would you do if you suddenly walked into the grocery store and everything was twice as much?

That is a frightening thing to think about.

Meanwhile, all of our other bills just keep going up as well.  For example, we just learned that the price of electricity hit a brand new all-time record high for the month of March.

If our incomes were keeping up with all of these price increases, that would be one thing.  Unfortunately, that is not the case.  As I wrote about earlier this week, the quality of our jobs continues to go down and more Americans fall out of the middle class every single day.

According to CNBC, there are hundreds of thousands of Americans with college degrees that are working for minimum wage right now...

While a college degree might help get a job, it doesn't necessarily mean a good salary. According to a report released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, some 260,000 workers with bachelor's degrees and 200,000 workers with associate's degrees are making the minimum wage.

 

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour, and the minimum wage for tipped workers is $2.13 an hour. Some cities and states have recently raised their minimum wage, but the BLS report defines only those making $7.25 an hour or less as "minimum wage workers."

And according to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States has dropped for five years in a row.

This is why so many families are financially stressed these days.  The cost of living is going up at a steady pace, but for the most part our paychecks are not keeping up.  Average Americans are having to stretch their money farther than ever, and many families have reached the breaking point.

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IridiumRebel's picture

I knew there was a reason I started to have a desire to garden. Now if only the wife would let me have some cattle and chickens.....until the Feds came by and killed them off for false fees. 

Soul Glow's picture

If they try to take everyone's garden they'll start an uprising.  That is what they don't want.

Beam Me Up Scotty's picture

Michael Snyder forgot to mention another cause of food inflation.  The Fed's printing press!!  How much of this inflation is caused by the big squid banks buying futures in these commodity items because they have freshly printed dollars at their disposal?  Just like the propane spike this past winter, did those big banks use the propane they bought?  Or just trade the paper and make a fortune on the backs of "the little people".

Oh, and Happy Easter to all of my fellow ZHers!!

Shad_ow's picture

Happy Easter to you and all.  Let's enjoy it while we can.

Latina Lover's picture

How do you get rid of useless eaters? Start by cutting back the food supply.

chapaev's ghost's picture

Real wealth is LAND, CATTLE, WATER, and FIREPOWER Everything else is a concept, an astraction, or a fantasy.

unicorn's picture

no my friend, without the seed you re dead, and the seeds dont belong to everyone anymore, they took out the open source licence and put monsanto, pioneer, syngenta, bayer or else (...) on it -  i m afraid.

A Nanny Moose's picture

California may be under a drought, but let us not forget that water in CA and the West, is just another government program. A "5-year plan."

TheRedScourge's picture

I was going to guess "take away their EBT cards".

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Happy Easter, indeed to all.  Let's count our blessings, at least while we still have them.

americanspirit's picture

Happy Easter DoChen - I am counting my blessings, every day, and every day here seem to be fewer of them to count. I can't figure out where they are disappearing to. Seems like they just go poof. What a puzzler.

Hey - I've got an idea. I think I'll call Barak Obama and ask him if he knows anything about my disappearing blessings. I'll just bet that he does.

Stuck on Zero's picture

Those projected prices don't look so bad to me.  Here in Southern California we pay those prices today. 

 

PT's picture

Oh it really doesn't matter. The fwee markits will sort it out.  Those high prices will encourage everyone to become farmers and then we will all grow more food.  Those who cannot afford land will borrow money and invest in special 50 x rehypothecated JP Goldmorgan triple leveraged synthetic desert reclamation CDOs and in 20 years they will have fertile land with well-managed farms on them and they will be rich.  Everywun wins!

TheRedScourge's picture

Time to invest in water rights, methinks.

 

Cue the countdown for how long until someone starts up such a company and calls it "Wetron".

Soul Glow's picture

Bernanke's experiment will be looked at by the history books as one of the gravest mistakes ever taken by a policy maker, make no mistake about it.

Ballin D's picture

Please. History books say that the New Deal fixed the great depression. If theres anything that we can be certain about, its that the powers that be will be writing our history however they want it to be read.

Soul Glow's picture

No they don't.  It's a fact that the New Deal did nothing for GDP.  It's also a fact that WWII did nothing for GDP.  GDP rose in the early '50s due to technological advances and cheap oil.  Get to reading Ballin' D.

Ballin D's picture

You can find books that read either way if you search hard enough but the history books I was taught from in every school I attended including private and public all teach itas the solution. I collected AP credit on all the highschool history classes I took so its a safe bet its graded that way nationally.

A Nanny Moose's picture

Indeed! Whenever it comes up for discussion, the Great-Man theory history is almost always parroted with regard to Lincoln, and Roosevelt.

AP courses. Now there is a genius carrot-and-stick approach. Tie more in depth discovery of the statist propganda to the notion of being "advanced." What better way to induce Stockholm Syndrome. My nephew recently went through AP History. He said his teacher would actually put the book down, and apply a more socratic approach. Probably the exception, rather than the rule.

ugeane's picture

well said, and very little of the money is going to make its way back into the system. money velocity is at 50 years low!

 

Village-idiot's picture

They won't try to take away your garden; they'll force you to buy new seeds every year. That way the backyard production can be controlled.

GMOs with "death-genes" in them.

Think not? The European Economic Community has already banned the retail sale of thousands of hybrid varieties of vegetable seeds. The "reason" was, a hundred different varieties of garden peas aren't needed; only 10-12 varieties are necessary (and heritage varieties are not among them). It's only the numerous seed-exchange clubs in Britain that has allowed many varieties to exist now.

Watch for governments around the world to enact seed-saving bans. Colombia has already done it to farmers. Farmers can legally only plant approved varieties of crops now (Monsanto Law). Riots in rural areas by farmers have caused the government to (temporarily) back down.

Joe A's picture

Actually, the European Commission (EC) had a proposal in the making to limit the number of crops (and imposing big fines if you would violate this rule, even if you would have a small garden) but a big campaign by civil societies collected hundreds of thousands of signatures and the proposal was rejected by the EP. But the fight is not over yet because they will try again. The EC is intensively lobbied by big biotech, agribusiness and foodcompanies to introduce GMO, not to ban certain pesticides, etc. and the European Food Safety Authority (the European FDA) has a revolving door with biotech and foodcompanies. Most Europeans are against GMO and should stand firm against these agents of death.

KickIce's picture

Just curious what makes you think that?  Thus fsr the only thing thst has come close to causing a revolution is the NFL replacement refs.  IMO, the only thing that causes a revolt is if the FSA gets involved either by empty shelves at Wal Mart or a complete loss of EBT purchasing power.  Until then the government continues to act like the kudzu vine and I believe the raiding farmland and bins to be in the near future.

BeansMcGreens's picture

The US Army during both the so called Civil War and the Indian Wars defeated and controlled both Southerners and Native Americans (mainly women and children) by destroying their crops, not defeating them in a face to face fight. Both times most of the destroying went on during the Winter, knowing there would be no surplus or ability to quickly grow more.

Word to the wise: Learn about wild food sources such as daylilies, and acorns for flour and other plants of that sort, and if possible grow some disguised in your yard.

Tengri Temujin's picture

https://www.youtube.com/user/Prepare2Survive/videos

this video above is kind of long at twenty minutes watch the other videos below first they are much shorter and deal with the mesquite instead of the oak

This video is very mellow and slow but it shows the entire process of processing acorns done by Northern California Indians.  And even with all the bounty of California there were lean years when it is said the acorns were all that they had to eat, had it not been for the acorns they would of died. 

I love the way they process their acorn flour since it doesnt require boiling water nor does it require one to soak them in a running river for a loooong time to remove the bitter tannins.

You can survive with acorns, the oak is called the tree of life in Europe.  In ancient times there you can be sure this is what saved them also.  Definitely plant oak trees and cherish them. 

Another great staple tree I found out about is mesquite which is great in dry regions, the Arizona mesquite puts out great seed pods (if green can eat pods and peas insided since tree is part of pea family), the long dried pods sans the seeds (kind of like pea pods) can be picked off the tree and dried and ground up (remove the seeds if dry they are very hard and you need a hammer mill to be able to break them up, the pod husks have the carbohydrates and are sweet, the protein though is with the seeds) to make a powder that can be combined with water and eaten, it served the role of acorns for the Indians in the South. Also mesquite wood makes great firewood. Caution with picking seed pods off of the ground, they may be contaminated with a fungus, best off the tree.

The guy who did the video above was an anthropologist from Berkeley that did an entire series of videos about the Indians in the West and how they lived, ate etc.  Trying to track them down.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHfWTriIXO0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI4NvRs1WeU

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be5339kO8kk

The acorns and mesquites you harvest at the right time of the year and you can keep them in storage for more than a year, so they will last till the next harvesting season, truly a great crop.  This way you have them planted in your yards with other fruit trees of course.  But remember they are a great source of carbohydrates and protein.  Also the illiterate mobs will be less likely to know about the high nutritional value of these trees.

 

BeansMcGreens's picture

Tengri Temujin

Thanks very much for the information above. I can see that you are studying this out much more than myself. I will look through all of this as I hope others will as there will be a world of despair if the food system gives out. Here in North Carolina we go through hurricanes and snow/ice storms that knock out the power where I live for days on time, and the ability to get somewhere is closed off. It does not take long to see food disappear, even when one has some put away. Just wait till everyone is scrambling around for something to eat. All the guns in the world will not keep a pack of hungry people out of your yard if they know you have food. Even the greastest American to live Crazy Horse had to surrender to his death because of the hunger of his people, As well as General Robert E Lee asked for food for his men at the surrender of his army, which Grant graciously gave.. It all comes down to food.

As a side note, a gentleman refugee from Laos got me onto growing and eating, and planting intermixing native plants around the yard. This was a few years back and even then he said most people would not recognize the food from the ornamentals. Though only in this country for about fifthteen years, he was a storehouse of information.

Tengri Temujin's picture

No Thank you McGreen, I like you am interested in finding reliable long term natural food alternatives that can keep someone going throughout the year.  These are two of the best alternatives to flour that I have found.  I mean this stuff can seriously keep someone alive for a year till the next harvest.  The nice thing about the mesquite is you dont have to do the long prep with the acorns since they dont have tannins.  If you ever find out more of the videos from that Berkeley guy let me know.  In the first link I put that guys channel but in there here is the link to the acorn video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhqNTgMaJIc

I think having a bunch of these trees and a good garden is a great starting point.  The acorns and mesquite seed pods you can gather and put in storage in barrels as backup for the year.  If you don't use them you can feed them to deer and other wildlife (even your own animals) which brings them to your property, and that is good for hunting. They are also low maintenance crops that also act as firewood should you need it.  Imagine if you have a couple of barrels of these things buried in the ground somewhere on your property.  You can have enough food to last you for a year to keep you alive.  By that time most of the people that were not prepared, the vast majority will probably already be dead from starvation.  Of course the smart thing to do is have bags of flour, rice, oats, etc. and also have a property where you have water from a well or a creek running nearby you can access.  Society can break down for many reasons, from natural disasters, to epidemics, to wars etc.

 

Ol Man's picture

Double by the end of next year, me thinks...

Oracle 911's picture

You mean this year, right?

What about inflation or death of the US$?

fonzannoon's picture

This is an example of how you can have inflation and deflation at the same time, or as it has been scientifically coined, barflation.

booboo's picture

Buy now or forever be priced out of the market.

 

kridkrid's picture

Inflation in the things you need, deflation in the things you own - including your labor (at least when measured in fiats).

MachoMan's picture

Eh no...  it's only an example of how prices can increase (doesn't really mention price decreases for anything).  Needless to say, the money supply cannot both expand and contract at the same time.

Colonel Klink's picture

Not to worry, everyone will be making more money in the new eCONomic recovery.

Newsboy's picture

I'm still long subsistence farming.

Kitchen-Gardener

DavidC's picture

But there is NO inflation and even if there is it's only 2%.

DavidC

(sarcoff)

Oldwood's picture

You are just looking at this wrong. With chained CPI we will simply substitute saw dust for food and everything will be fine.

Soul Glow's picture

Let them eat sawdust.

- Lagarde, 2015

Soul Glow's picture

And that was years ago.  I bet the poor in Chinese are still eating it too.

KickIce's picture

And you better have a hand saw around as you might not be able to afford to run a power or chain saw.

bankonzhongguo's picture

Rich or poor. Young or old. Smart or dumb.

Start a "Liberty Garden."

If you feel jazzy build a cold frame for winter.

Invest in some decent non-GMO heirloom seeds and save your seeds form your harvest.

Get your kids involved.

You will remember what real food actually tastes like, eat cleaner and save some money too.

greatbeard's picture

>> non-GMO heirloom seeds

Is there such a thing as GMO heirloom seeds?

Skateboarder's picture

The looms of Monsatan's heirs spin the seeds of evil.

IridiumRebel's picture

Monsanto is working on it. How's your garden GB? Last I read you were killing it by growing it. I'm starting my first and hope to one day be as audacious a gardener as you and others here.