Maybe Higher Food Prices Are Actually Good For Us as a Society

CNN is about the most worthless place to get news, but I still check their site a few times a week for comedic value. I’m usually pleasantly surprised when I come across some absurd story, and today was no different. The sensationalistic stories that constantly portray the world ending are far from news, and simply attempt to entertain people who can’t think for themselves.

Today, I want to highlight their story about increasing grocery prices. Now, this is hardly news, and inflation has been a hot topic for a while now. Yes, gas prices are high, milk costs more than it did a year ago, and it is costing people more money to buy the same goods.

The People Make the Stories

What makes these stories entertaining are the people they talk to. I remember one of their stories a few months ago talking about gas prices, and they were quoting people who were complaining that they had to sell two of their three SUVs just to keep up with gas prices, or complaining about how their 200 mile daily commute is eating into their budget. Now, gas prices are a legitimate concern, but CNN always highlights those who have thrown common sense out the window.

In the story about the high food prices, you have quotes such as:

Pond has planted her own herb garden. She buys eggs at the local feed store and pays $4.50 for 20 eggs. She purees vegetables and fruits into home-made baby food.

And gems like:

Many more moms are cooking at home, growing their own vegetables, breastfeeding instead of buying expensive formula, using leftovers to stretch the week’s meals, and even hoarding discounted products.

Wait a minute. Stop the presses! Because of higher food prices, people are resorting to such ghastly tasks as cooking at home, growing some of their own food, and using leftovers! Oh, the humanity. Economic times are just so hard that people have to do things that any prudent person would be doing anyway.

And, the higher food and gas prices may actually help combat the obesity problem in this country. As mentioned in this AP article:

For Peggy and David Valdez of Houston, feeding their family of four means scouring grocer ads for the best prices, taking fewer trips as a way to save gas and simply buying less food, period.

Yes, it is a real shame that now you’re conscientious of the fact that you can consolidate grocery shopping into one or two weekly trips instead of going every day, actually pay attention to sale prices, and are buying less (or probably just buying the appropriate healthy amount) food.

This Type of Behavior Should be the Norm, Not the Exception

One bright spot in the story that gives a sense of hope for our species is Amanda

For Amanda Richardson, the food price squeeze has taught her one more important lesson.

“Before we were incredibly wasteful. We’d let food go bad. I am more conscientious now,” she said. “If prices go back down, I won’t return to my wasteful ways.”

Well congratulations to you, Amanda. It is a sad state of affairs when we’re accustomed to taking food for granted to the point we just waste it. If it takes higher food prices to knock some common sense into people to where they will be more respectful and waste less, then maybe it isn’t so bad after all.

So, what are your thoughts? Is it really so bad that people actually have to think twice before buying something they don’t need or maybe make a few more meals at home and spend time with the family? And is it terrible that people are taking the initiative to grow some of their own food by planting a spring garden or support local farmers in an effort to save a little money? It is a shame that it takes drastic situations to force people to change their behaviors, but most of these changes are for the good–both in terms of ourselves, and our environment.

Author: Jeremy Vohwinkle

My name is Jeremy Vohwinkle, and I’ve spent a number of years working in the finance industry providing financial advice to regular investors and those participating in employer-sponsored retirement plans.