Columnist offers a variety of ways that you can keep your dollar growing in the grocery store and at home even further
Did you notice something in the supermarket?
Let’s discuss something I think we’re all feeling right now: the sharp rise in food and grocery prices.
Every day there is a litany of articles and news reports on a variety of product shortages, price increases, and the struggle for food security in our communities. Even my own household bills went up by at least $ 100 to $ 200 a month.
With the apprenticeship as a professional chef, I see the costs of food from a business point of view. The margins in restaurants have always been notoriously low. An industry average fluctuates around two to three percent profit for an average restaurant. Any increase in the base material of your kitchen can be catastrophic. This year it’s just another kick in the teeth of an already fragile industry.
Basic items like canola oil, meat, and dairy products are all seeing historic price increases. All of these prices are influenced by many factors. Gas prices for shipping, labor costs for packaging and processing, and goods market values can have a negative effect on the price we pay. There is hardly any relief in sight. The best a chef can do is buckle up, sharpen your pencil and, unfortunately for the consumer, raise their own prices.
But what can we do at home to get through these turbulent times and raise the family budget a little further? There are a few tips and tricks chefs use that can help you manage costs at home, too.
Meal planning – Taking the time to plan out your basic weekly meals can really help. This will give you the guidance you need to create shopping lists and figure out how to best use the items you have on hand. Just choosing one protein for each night can help. Proper menu planning and recipe development are the backbone of a profitable kitchen.
Reduce food waste – Using leftovers, reducing portion sizes, and using the right cooking techniques can all help reduce waste in your kitchen and help you get the most out of your business. Take notes of what you have and make a good shopping list to avoid overbought. Save scrap that can be reused or otherwise used. Today’s roast chicken bones become
the chicken noodle soup of tomorrow.
A good cook is very aware of the products and processes in his kitchen. Unaware of food waste can cost a restaurant large sums of money in potential profit losses.
Store and retain when available. Great sale of tomatoes Glass of some sauce. Good price for pork chops Buy and freeze. Soaking, freezing, and drying are great ways to extend item availability. Knowing how to save and store food kept our ancestors alive during the lean times.
Many chefs and chefs are rediscovering many of these skills and using them to their advantage to offer unique local produce year round.
Breed your own – Plant a garden. It was not for nothing that “Victory Gardens” were such a great thing for our generation of grandparents. Gardening has so many positive health and happiness benefits. It can help supplement your family’s meals with fresh vegetables that are cheaper and freshly prepared for you.
Growing yourself connects you to the food chain and gives you an understanding of the time and effort that goes into making our food.
Some hospitality businesses are now realizing the benefits of having on-site gardens or partnering with local producers to bring an ever-increasing variety of fresh food to the table.
Unfortunately, our world today makes this aspect of life really difficult to manage for many. The financial pressures of running a household and the stresses of the post-pandemic world really make people pause, forcing many families to reevaluate and prioritize their budgets. Once the rent and utilities are paid, food is next on the list. Many families are struggling to cover all of these costs and have to find alternative means to fill the gap.
Here are a few of these remedies:
* Barrie Food Bank sees more than 24,000 people per year accessing the services and support they offer.
* The number of customers has increased by 55 percent since 2019. This demand only increases as the cost of living in our community continues to rise. With such demand and changing markets, the food bank relies on our food and financial donations to feed our weakest friends and neighbors.
* The Good Food Box is a wholesale fresh grocery shopping club that enables people to take advantage of the reduced cost of bulk shopping. This regulation also helps producers move their goods more efficiently.
* These boxes are available monthly and contain a variety of fresh, seasonal produce for the low cost of $ 17 per month. A couple of great things that I love about this program are one that a Georgian college student program is offering for $ 10 / month with on campus pickup, and second, there is a “Pay-it-Forward” box that you can use and the food goes to a local family in need. A win-win situation for me!
I hope all of you and your families can save pennies and make the most of your next visit to the store.
You can find more information about the Barrie Food Bank at click here.
You can find information about the Good Food Box and its program here.