US grocery store owners gives insight into food prices

Hilary Maricle, a US farmer gives insight into why, in their opinion, food prices are high. "Being a farmer and the daughter of grocery store owners, I have a unique perspective into how prices are determined once food products hit the shelves. Here are some of the questions I am often asked." 

Q: Why are food prices so high?
A: As a farmer, we work hard to make sure that we are always providing safe, healthy food. For each step of farm-to-fork, there are costs associated with growing food. These costs on the farm are considered input costs. Some of the highest input costs include labor, seed, feed and technology. When our input costs go up, so do the costs all the way through the food system. The price of fuel is a simple example. We put fuel in our tractors to plant corn and to pull the feed wagon to feed the cattle, and fuel prices are always changing. Farmers are price takers, and sometimes our input price may go up; but the price we receive may go down. There isn’t always a perfect correlation between what the farmer is paid and what you pay at the grocery store. According to the USDA, the farmer receives 14 cents of every dollar spent on food.

Q: Does food price indicate food quality?
A:  I can promise you that the food you find in the grocery stores throughout the U.S. is safe and high quality. Even if I buy the cheapest can of veggies, it has still gone through the same safety inspections and controls all canned vegetables go through. There are a lot of food pricing variances that tie to each company’s marketing and preferences. Do not be afraid to look for the cheaper canned product if that is what works best for your family.

Q: As a parent, I want to make sure I offer my kids healthy foods. How do I do this on a budget?
A: It always helps to spend time planning for sales. We eat the meat that we grow, so there is always hamburger in our freezer. If we remember to thaw it, we can make a lot of different meals from that one core protein. By adding whichever vegetables and starches that are on sale, and by adding the right seasoning, it is simple to create a variety of meals on a budget. When you are shopping, look for meat sales and buy in bulk. If you seal and freeze meat correctly, it can last for up to 12 months in the freezer.

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