While increases in the costs of food throughout the world have been an ongoing story, I’m very grateful to live in America. Experts have predicted that Americans and the rest of the world will see increases in what we spend at the grocery store for a number of reasons. These include an increase in global demand, economic depression, the cost of fuel, and floods and droughts.
The United Nations has stated that food prices will soar by as much as 30% over the next 10 years. A UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report predicted that the cost of cereals throughout the world is likely to increase by 20% and the price of meat, particularly chicken, may soar by up to 30% in the very near future.
Despite future increases, the silver lining for American families struggling to get by is that compared to the rest of the world, it’s relatively inexpensive to eat in the United States. So, as we experience increases with the rest of the world, we will have started from a much lower number to begin with.
Advances in manufacturing and technology have significantly increased food production in the United States over the past 80 years – while significantly reducing the cost of this production. In 1933, Americans spent 21.9% of their income on their (at home) food. Today, according to the USDA, we spend just 5.7% on food eaten at home. Incidentally, food purchased out of the home increased just slightly from 3.3% in 1933 to 3.9% in 2009.
Compared to the rest of the world, 5.7% of personal income is astonishingly inexpensive. This does not factor in the expenses of other consumables like paper products, cleaning products, and personal care products – which when all combined together put the average American family of four above $700 a month at the grocery store. This is no small expense but if you lived outside the United States, here is the percentage of your paycheck you would spend to feed your family…
United States 5.7%
United Kingdom 8.6%
Hong Kong, China 12.2%
South Africa 19.8%
The full chart can be found at http://sa2.me/worldfoodcosts
Naturally, incomes are lower in most countries with a higher percentage spent on food – but imagine if your paycheck was nearly half gone just to keep your family fed. Compare that with someone who follows my advice in the United States and can potentially feed their family on just 3% of their income. It’s a great blessing to live in the United States – where, even though we’re dealing with our own economic hardships and higher than usual unemployment, our standard of living is remarkable compared to most of the world.
Join with me in giving thanks for our freedoms and the joy that we get from our personal, political, and economic liberties.