Today’s question comes from Melanie who is filling in for Frank. Visit Melanie’s page to read the preamble for this question. It is certainly, pardon the pun, food for thought.
Have you personally felt the food ‘pinch’, whether due to cost or unavailability? Do you think there is a danger of us ‘running out of viable food’ due to lack of green space and non-polluted ground to grow things on? Have you changed your meal planning or schedule to include fewer meals or reduced portions?
I have certainly noticed in the last few months that some prices have risen a lot while other things are often unavailable.
There is a particular type of dog treat we liked to buy for the dogs, a dental stick. They used to be about $17 for a box of 14 regardless of the size which we always thought odd. If I saw them on special, as they often were for $12.50, I’d grab a box for Cindy and a box for Toby and Teddy. Naomi would do the same. Then the specials became a bit rarer and one day we noticed that the regular price had gone up to over $20 a box. The cheapest we can find them for now is $13.50 but yesterday Naomi saw them for $27. That’s just ridiculous!
During the pandemic of course there were shortages in the supermarkets as people were panic buying toilet paper, pet food, pasta, yeast and other staples but I was generally able to get enough for my needs.
It was after that we started to notice that the supply chain issues originally blamed on the pandemic were not going away. I have not done too badly so far. I do my regular grocery order from one supermarket and usually get most of it. I allow substitute items but even so some things they haven’t had for weeks. We supplement this by visiting the supermarket in Wynyard (different company) so we manage to find most things but we see the empty shelves in there. They are either getting smaller or less frequent deliveries. The price of meat has gone up so much that even the formerly cheap items like mince and sausages are a lot more expensive than they used to be.
Extreme weather events are always going to be a problem. If there is a cyclone in Queensland like Yasi a few years ago, the price of bananas goes up astronomically. I think we stopped buying them for nearly a year. I’ve heard that the war in Ukraine is impacting several countries badly because they are major wheat exporters.
So, for now we are doing OK, far better than many others but in the long term I don’t know. We haven’t so far had to reduce meal portions or change our meal plans. As we could both stand to lose some weight it probably wouldn’t hurt us. Actually, eating healthy is more difficult when you can’t buy fresh fruit and veg so hopefully those things will remain available and affordable.
Developing nations are going to feel it first as they don’t have the reserves to buy food if it is available. The situation in Sri Lanka sounds pretty dire and many African and Asian countries are constantly grappling with this situation. If “rich” countries like Australia and the USA struggle to supply our own people how are these nations going to manage? We usually help them. Will we all cry poor and leave them to struggle? I hope not.
What will things be like in twenty or thirty years? I don’t know. I’m probably going to worry about that more now. I’m glad that I’m old and that I don’t have kids or grandkids to worry about. I think my nieces and nephew and their families will have a tougher future so I hope they will prepare well for it.