Agflation Goes Retail

by | Jan 21, 2011 | Commodities | 56 comments

Do you LOVE America?


    We’ve been writing about it for several months (years, actually, but who’s counting) and now it’s finally starting to show up on the consumer side of things.

    Up until last month or so, the price explosion on global commodity markets wasn’t being felt by retail buyers of food stuffs, but that is about to change – in fact, it’s changing right now.

    Remember this chart, which we published a few months back in The Real Rate of Inflation?


    In April of 2010 we wrote about some seemingly minor blips in month over month food inflation, suggesting that we could potentially see a rise in food costs of about 25% within a year.

    Zero Hedge points out that those food cost increases are now here:

    After denying for months that surging food prices will eventually come to the consumer, hoping that instead food companies could absorb the margin drop, sellside research is finally capitulating to the reality of what is really happening in the retail store. In a note discussing General Mills, Goldman Sachs says the company raised prices on snack bars some 7% last week. Goldman further clarifies that “this reportedly followed a comparable increase taken by K on its snack bars in mid-December. In addition, KFT has reportedly announced a 6% increase on select Planters branded nut products. We expect more price increases to be announced by the food  companies in the coming weeks.” Maybe, but the Chairman sure doesn’t. And the Chairman is always 100% correct.

    The margin compression we discussed in Broke and Hungry is finally proving to be too much for major food producers. Their costs for ‘raw’ materials have gone up significantly, yet they did not raise their prices to compensate in the hopes that prices would stabilize. Those companies need to make a profit to operate, and it looks like they don’t think core commodity prices are going down anytime soon. As such, they will now be raising their prices to offset their production costs.

    This reality is about to hit consumers smack-dab in the face:

    Compared to a year ago, a pound of bacon costs 44% more at the retail level, sliced deli ham is up 11% a pound, and a dozen eggs cost 3% more, according to the latest informal data complied by the American Farm Bureau, which surveys U.S. supermarket prices in 29 states.

    A caffeine jolt will hit your budget, too. The price to buy a pound of ground roasted coffee costs $4.47, up 22%, or 80 cents a pound from a year ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    Rising commodity prices for everything from coffee to sugar are driving up grocery bills. Among the culprits: Rising demand from emerging economies, bad weather hitting crops worldwide and investor speculation.

    Of course, there are some food manufacturers who, rather than outright raising prices on the foods you’ve become so accustomed to buying cheaply, are taking a different approach:

    ConAgra, General Mills, Kellogg’s and Kraft recently raised prices for many of their wares. In December ConAgra, which makes Slim Jim meat snacks, among other delicacies, reported a 16% decline in second-quarter profits. Like other food makers, ConAgra is experimenting with smaller packages sold at the same price.

    Less food for the same price. Those who aren’t paying attention will argue that they paid the same for their groceries this week as last, but the reality will be that they came home with 20% to 30% less food.

    Take steps now to prepare for those rising costs and Buy Commodities at Today’s Lower Prices, Consume at Tomorrow’s Higher Prices.


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      1. I have been shocked recently at the prices when at the grocery store.  It is causing a schock to my checking account, too.  The trouble is – it’s probably going to get a lot worse.  It is making preps hard.

      2. The sad thing is that it may be too late for some people to start preparing…if gas prices shoot up they will be at a point of “Food or Gas”.

      3. I don’t know about Slim Jim monkey meat being a delicacy until its been in a hot car parked in West Texas for a summer month but I’ll bet a 5 gallon bucket of unboxed Hamburger Helper (pasta with powder) without the hamburger is expensive.  What’s the shelf life of a Slim Jim anyway?
        Soybeans on the Commodities Exchange are $14.12 today.  That’s where most processed foods get all (if any) of their protein.  Fill your 5 gallon buckets with pasta.
        The Baltic Dry Index is down so it must be because of Al Gore.

      4. I’ve been seeing the smaller packages for months no. 

        Reminds me of the old Rock n Roll gingerbread cookies.  They cost a nickel; when I was kid.  Then 1971 hit an they went up to a dime overnight.  Then they got smaller, and went up more in price.

        Now, to get the same thing as the smallest quarter version would cost a dollar if they still made them.

        It’s only happening faster now.  When was the last time you looked a t a box of Chicken in a Biscuit crackers.  Twelve ounces is now 8 for the same old price.

        Protect yourself.  Buy it now if you can.  It will only get worse.

      5. A Save-a-lot grocery store just opened here, the first of it’s kind. LOVED IT. Found a lot of good stuff for better prices than I can find anywhere else.

        I’m starting to wonder if I am stocking too much of some things.

        There is just me and my husband at home but I fully intend to have to help prepare for my 3 children and their families who live nearby. A couple of them are starting to come around and prepare a little themselves. 

        I converted a small bedroom (removing all the furniture) into a WALK-IN pantry. Shelving all the way around.  

         How is anyone to know when to say “when”?

      6. I know this is going to come as a very strange observation…from a guy. BUT, did anyone catch the recent headline that people are paying up to $76 on eBay for a particular box of tampons? Some ‘non-applicator’ type? Is this happening in any stores near you?

        As a prepper, these can come in handy for several reasons (blotting wounds, starting fires, etc.). But if this is true, talk about a valuable barter item we should now be attentive to!

        Beyond that, yes, my coffee is going straight the hell up in price, and I’m thinking of backing up the truck on that one now before I’m forced to buy land in Costa Rica or some such, and grow my own!

      7. I guessed I missed the main point to my comment above. Stores are running out all over the country of this item. Maybe it’s high on the list of many women’s prep list? A sign maybe of the times?

        And Tina, any excess will come in very handy in (literally) saving the lives of others who have ignored all the warnings. Divvied up at your sole discretion, of course. But you’re lucky to have a family that is now on board and aare.

        Otherwise, mark it boldly with expiration dates, and use it if need be. Either way, it will not be wasted, and may fetch a pretty penny by those who have been dilly-dallying! (Do they still use that term?) Anyway, keep it going! Great idea and use of that extra room!

      8. Thanks Dave…sometimes I just feel like I need some reassurance. Back in the day I used to make fun of people (like me)…saving like there is no tomorrow. HOARDERS I called them.  

        I have been doing this for a couple of years now (I started backwards with aquiring silver and gold first then food). Every now and then I feel like I’m really losing it, like I’m going overboard with it. Of course when I walk into this room and see wall to wall food I does look a little overwhelming. 

        I can only imagine what an outsider would think if they saw it. 

      9. Sorry…I meant to say:
        Of course when I walk into this room and see wall to wall food it does look a little overwhelming. 

      10. Go Tina!

      11. NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Frustration over the disappearance of popular Johnson & Johnson(JNJ_) tampon brand o.b. was the result of a temporary supply interruption, the company said.
        “OB. tampons experienced a temporary supply interruption that has resulted in some stores being out of stock,” a spokesman told TheStreet in an email.
        The spokesman said that J&J has begun shipping o.b. products; they’re already available in some stores, while others will be arriving over the next few days and weeks.
        “We apologize to o.b. consumers who may have been inconvenienced.”
        The spokesman noted that J&J’s Ultra tampon line was discontinued in September due to a business decision rather than unusual reports of adverse events

        BOY…this is enough to get your panties in a wad.

      12. Tina, like many that post on this site, I took all of those knocks early on as well, and stopped caring what they thought just as early on, when I started a good 4 or 5 years back. Gathering survival gadgets and the like, then food, then metals. Yeah, they laughed and laughed! Ha! It makes me wonder how many of them are thinking of me today as this planet goes into upheaval as it has.

        I used to convert my gutters to capture rainwater, build solar ovens, and all that good stuff.  And I can say this. Before I lost touch with some of those same people, they were doing the same projects! “Hey Dave. Wanna come over? I converted my gutters and added the barrel…” Ha ha! So the moral must be, even if they mock you publicly, you’re giving them pause to think about it all. Deep down, they know this is real, but some have a thicker skin to come out of the survival ‘closet’, ignorant commentary be damned!

        But I’ll tell ya Tina, the only I’d be feeling right now, opening a room converted to a pantry like that would be…relaxed! You can focus on the more important things around you now, round out what you may have missed, and help your family with their own preps. Anyone still laughing now, you can only ignore, and hope they see the light before its too late.

        Nothing overboard about it at all. Very soon, most families will not be able to afford all the things you had the sense of mind to acquire while things were calm. You’d swear these people never read ‘The Ant and the Grasshopper’!  🙂

        p.s. The word I meant to type above was ‘aware’. My ‘w’ sticks pretty badly!

      13. Not only are food items climbing, but have you priced seeds? Without a garden, surviving until the next summer would be difficult at best. Then there is the price increases on canning jar lids.

        Oh well, the FRN is supposed to be just a transactional currency.  Far better another sack of rice in the pantry than hold a depreciating asset in an inflationary market.

        Keep the pantry in the right perspective.  The purpose is an finacial insurance policy you have complete control of. You decide the monthly premium, the deductable and the size of the policy.  Your decisions are all that matters. Rotate your stock and clearly mark the purchase dates.

        If you knew you needed new tires and the price was going up, would you put off the purchase if the monetary assets on hand afforded purchase today? It is your decision. Choose wisely.

      14. Tina, thanks for that info. “Due to a business decision, rather than unusual reports of adverse events”. Sounds like Robert Gibbs wrote that. I’m not so convinced. Avid purchasers of this brand were said to have no idea about this, when I first read about it, and subsequently started bidding it up on eBay. I suppose plenty of things get discontinued with warning, but something fishy is goin’ on here! (Sorry, no pun intended)

        Overtheedge, I’ve had my seeds for some time now, and haven’t had to price them lately. I’ll have to check that out. How much do you think they rose in price? And can you still find plenty of non-GMO out there?

      15. Go Tina  +1 !!

        That whole eating thing is pretty important.  Whenever I look at the stacks of food in pails, buckets, and boxes, it is relaxing and a huge relief at the same time.   However much food you have is not only insurance, it provides a time buffer to gather, grow, and otherwise supplement your stocks.  Let others mock and laugh.  It would be nice if our biggest problem was trying not to feel smug while we are eating and the mockers are not.

        Aldi’s is a discount food chain in this area.  While not in my normal shopping routine, I stopped in to compare prices.  One would need to be a careful shopper to ensure getting a good deal, but their prices on canned goods seem lower than other chain stores.    However, I have not done a comparison of, say, the net weight of cut green beans from Aldi’s vs. another chain store, so I’m not sure if the lower prices are reflected in less actual product in the same can.

        You know you’re a prepper when you walk past the canned goods and imagine yourself with a pallet cart, piling it up with cases of food.

        overtheedge: on the tires example, preventative maintenance is another good area to “invest”, especially as we get closer to the abyss.  My clueless neighbor just had his alternator fail.  It cost him a tow, two days downtime on his main work vehicle, and a mechanic’s bill.  On that very same day, I picked up a new spare alternator from the parts store after using a pull-a-part junkyard alternator as the core return.  Now I can swap it out at my convenience while keeping a working spare in reserve.  I told my neighbor about my process and observed to him that he did it the expensive way.


        My husband just bought from a friend a 8 ft wide and 8 ft tall shelving unit from Goody’s going out of business here.


        I need it in the house and do not want my things seen in the garage…I can’t get it in the extra bedrooms without cutting it into to make two 4 X 8’s.

        I need what Tina has …wall to wall food and supplies HIDDEN in the BR.

        Tina…those 100 servings in rice bags??? they are really 50 servings…and many servings aren’t realistic…what you don’t want to eat, tired of??  There will be other options as Dave mentioned. 



        NOYB…Aldi’s is the store to to speak… in Ky, I got antsy and bought big time canned goods…a few weeks later, Aldi’s lowered their prices on lots of what I bought and I was amazed…others were jumping their prices up—what goes?? I never figured it out.

      18. This will give us another idea of how people will react, and how non-seriously they take all of this. My family is in another snowstorm in the NE, and the news cameras are all over the place, showing all the pushing and shoving, and purchasing of all the things they should’ve had in the first place!

        Many of the comments on the local news website revolved around this. Comments like, “Soooo, you may be stuck in your home for 1-2 days, and you don’t HAVE enough provisions for 1-2 days??? What DO you people have in your homes?”

        It’s a little scary knowing that these are the people that will be surrounding us when (Gawd forbid) a REAL storm, or a fuel crisis keeps those shelves bare for 1-2 WEEKS!

        It was even a little funny. One of the guys in the thread said he worked for the supermarket they were filming, and he wrote, “Every damn time there’s a storm, this place is mobbed. Do they ever learn?”

        So true. Why should you ever need to rush to a store for bottled water? You really don’t have any at home? Sad to say, only half of my on family have such minimal provisions themselves.

        p.s. On another note, in case you didn’t catch the news on this, Albania is currently erupting in the current spate of protests and car burnings. Come soon to a town near us, I’m sure.


        Dave, those seeds don’t keep THAT careful…… 🙂

      20. Comments…..Tina,  I’m with you.  I turned our spare bedroom into a cellar.  It is not heated in the winter and then I have air conditioning to it during the summer to keep the room cool and dark.

        I put my canned goods, items I have canned up from the garden and medicins, cleaning supplies ect.  I am sure you get the idea.

        My husband was ok with the first shelf unit we bought.  He did say not to get carried away.  6 months later he said it was time to buy a second unit.  Both shelves are full.  The buckets of beans, rice, noodles, dried fruit and canning supplies are stacked up on the floor.

        I will clear out the camping equipment from the closet and put in another unit this summer.

        Another thing I am doing is, the scientist say that we are going into a mini ice age.  So, I am going more twards cold crops this year.  I was never good with tomatoes anyway. 

        Winter squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and apples store really well in my cold room.  Make sure to rotate your items to keep them up to date.

        Good luck everyone.

      21. Greasy Slim Jims are something I only tasted once.  Wouldn’t feed them to my dog.  Anyone who eats this type of junk can’t be serious about real food prices.  JMO

      22. All the preparations that I have done I consider as insurance from whatever!  Whenever people look at me strange or make comments about all my preparations I just ask them …. “Do you have insurance on your house?  If your house doesn’t burn down is that a bad thing?”  I have very few things that would be for nothing.  Even a homemade solar oven can spare your electric bill from having a conventional oven on a couple hours to make stew or bake bread!  Eventually we will use everything we’ve been storing…. right?

      23. OK, this is killing me.  What is the deal with the old style light bulbs?  Explain……  I am simple.

      24. Tina asked, “How is anyone to know when to say “when”?”

        This article about paleo storage kind of addresses that question:

        NOYB said, “I have not done a comparison of, say, the net weight of cut green beans from Aldi’s vs. another chain store, so I’m not sure if the lower prices are reflected in less actual product in the same can.”

        I have, and they are the same weight.
        The thing I don’t like about Aldi’s is they tend to throw your canned goods into the cart and don’t seem to care if they dent them in the process.
        I don’t ever have that problem at other grocery stores.

        CDW, I’ve had some homemade beef jerky that is out of this world, and no msg. I get it on trade. I don’t like Slim Jim’s either.

      25. i knew inflation would start to increase when the democrats took over. it’s time to put the republicans into power in washington and the state houses so we can stop inflation in it’s tracks.

        remember in the meantime to save ten dollar bills. there is no inflation in ten dollar bills  -  a wonderful investment until the republicans take over.

      26. The 14 inch Tabasco Slim Jims are good on my road trips.  The only problem is pushing them out of their plastic sleeve to eat them fast enough with a Big Gulp with the cruise control set to 74 while watching a DVD movie & texting with the moon roof open.  They taste like USDA South American graded veal, size 13 country western $500 red silver tip boots with heel protectors & 5 ring spurs and rubber floor mats.

      27. Our family is taking the necessary steps to ensure that we will have enough food and so should you. Stop going to the movies and wasting money on expensive stuff you DON’T NEED. Do your kids really need a new cell phone this year? Do you need all those premium channels on TV? Make some cuts and spend the money on food storage, before prices go up. We get everything from – the food costs less than other companies and it tastes great. Don’t know what you need? They even have a food planner to help you get started. Don’t wait another day!

      28. One thing I have been doing is saving drink bottles.  I read this as a suggestion somewhere to use 2 liters to store dry goods.  I don’t buy much soda, so I’m saving my daughter’s apple juice jugs.  I wash them and dry for two days.  Then they are great for storing rice, beans, sugar, etc.  I know buckets with mylar is better, but it helped me really get going in a short time with little expense.  Maybe this will encouarge someone.

      29. The widemouth bottles that V-8 juice comes in are also great.  The juice is a lot better for you than soda, too.

      30. GA Girl,

        I read somewhere (probably here) that if you put those bottles in the freezer, it will kill any bug eggs that might otherwise hatch.  I think your suggestion to use 2 liter bottles is a good one.  Kept in a dark place, they will probably last a long time.  Don’t use milk jug type plastic for long term storage of liquids….it will disintegrate after a couple of months.  Found that out the hard way.  🙂

      31. Ok, those bank reserves that Some people said were, “locked up tight” and not escaping into the economy to create an increase in prices pushing up those bars on the graph above, well, here’s one hint that they are not as, “locked up” as some people make them out to be:  

        “Confidentially, by way of background, I manage all aspects of funding for a large commercial finance company… I have been extremely active in the wholesale capital and securitization markets for the past 10 years raising well over $2 Billion of structured debt credit facilities, securitizations and warehouses. Consequently, I have a great vantage point to observe the anecdotal behavior of the global money center banks. From 2004 through most of 2007 these shops were throwing money at their clients. That approach to lending ceased in mid-to-late 2007 and the wholesale funding and securitization markets remained relatively dormant until early 2010.

        I firmly believed this was going to continue and that the memory of 2007-2008 would remain planted in bankers minds. I also expected a long period of deflation as a result. However, what I am observing presently is that the TBTFs are becoming much more aggressive in their pitches to clients and offering substantially better credit terms and rates on debt facilities. It appears the excess reserves are [slowly] starting to flow from the money centers to targeted segments of the economy.

        Whether this continues is anyones guess.

        This report dovetails nicely with my analysis of Fed activities and changes in the attitude of banks (and others) with the desire to hold cash balances. The Fed money printing is kicking off the show and impacting the economy. This slowly nudges economic actors to decrease the desire to hold cash balances. Both these factors will continue to intensify as long as the Fed maintains its current money printing stance. It will, of course, ultimately result in severe price inflation, but in the short-term it looks like Fed manipulated happy days are here again. [A.k.a. dead cat bounce.]

        If you need a loan, now is the time to get it. Lock in rates for as long as you can. Rates have ticked off their lows, but they are still headed much higher from here. Higher rates will come either becasue of the inflation or because Bernanke stops printing, which will push rates higher.”

        Of course that doesn’t apply to housing, as higher rates equals lower house prices, many people say it’s far better to owe on a lower balance than to have a low rate on a higher balance. Timing is everything I guess.
        I did notice after not getting Any credit card offers in the mail for the longest time, I am now suddenly getting quite a few.

        I like the drink bottle idea, GA Girl, I imagine they would fit perfectly into (free) empty wine boxes in case you had to move them, or keep them out of sight from busy-body eyes.

      32. Pasta, rice, and beans are the best staples for the money, especially if you buy in bulk.  Don’t forget spices and sauces.  I just bought 30 envelopes (dry, in the spice aisle) of spaghetti sauce, alfredo sauce, and burrito seasoning, then vacuum sealed them with the Food Saver.  At 50 cents per packet, that’s 120 servings for $15, or about 13 cents per serving.  And the envelopes take up less space than cans or jars.

        I also stored a bunch of oatmeal and pancake mix (just add water), bought in bulk for cheap.

      33. Anon….concerning incandesent light bulbs(I cut and pasted this from World Net Daily)

        (start)…In addition to raising auto fuel efficiency standards 40 percent, an energy bill passed by Congress yesterday bans the incandescent light bulb by 2014.
        President Bush signed the 822-page measure into law today after it was sent up Pennsylvania Avenue in a Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle. The House passed the bill by a 314-100 vote after approval by the Senate last week.
        Rep. John D. Dingell, D-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said the legislation will boost the energy efficiency of “almost every significant product and tool and appliance that we use, from light bulbs to light trucks.”
        The phase-out of incandescent light is to begin with the 100-watt bulb in 2012 and end in 2014 with the 40-watt.
        All light bulbs must use 25 percent to 30 percent less 2014. By 2020, bulbs must be 70 percent more efficient than they are today.
        Australia was the first country to announce an outright ban by 2010

        Read more: Congress bans incandescent bulbs

        So stockpiling a few hundred is probably a good idea! Hope this helps!

      34. The markets are acting very strange this past week.  USDX, CCI, Stock Market, Bonds, BDI, Metals, Commodities (food/energy), and the news that our economy is on “jobs overdrive“.  Could this be the last gasp Hail Mary before another domino falls?

      35. Serenity Now:  What do you mean bug eggs?  I know to put pasta in the freezer for a couple of days first.  Do you mean there are bug eggs on the bottles themselves or the food I am putting in them?  Need advice.
        BTW – I talk to a lot of missionaries and get info sometimes.  They are trained to eat in bad situations.  Such as – if there are bugs in your pasta or rice, you can put it in water and stir and the bugs float.  You remove the bugs and boil the rest and eat it anyway.  This might be helpful if it really came down to it.  Not pleasant, but survival ideas.

      36. I am so excited…I can hardly contain myself.

        My daughter called me last night and told me that she finally received her check (from a left over 401K) and that she needs my help in rearranging things and help her build a pantry.

        1/3 of my prayers have been answered….now I have to concentrate on my other two children……

      37. Comments…..Anonymous

        OK, this is killing me.  What is the deal with the old style light bulbs?  Explain……  I am simple.
        The incandescent light bulb gives off heat–they come in handy to keep pipes from freezing, the small Xmas tree bulbs can keep plants from freezing as well.  But, they use a lot more energy.

        I’ve been using the squiggly bulbs ever since they came out, and we’ve seen a dramatic drop in our power bill.  I don’t know what all the resistance to using them is about.

      38. That doesn’t make much sense.  They have plumbing electrical heat wrap.  A squiggly (CFL) puts out heat also, just not as much.  I can understand not wanting the looks of a CFL bulb for chandlers but can’t think of ANY reason other than keeping a closed room from freezing IF it is put towards the bottom of a bathroom cabinet (winter time only).  A small garden when covered up with one light bulb will keep from freezing also but I understand what you are saying Goldenfoxx if it is a long row garden.  A fruit tree covered with one bulb hung below all fruit.  I’m no tree hugger but the new cfm bulbs do have a spot of mercury in them that I’m sure will be addressed later on like the taxes & surcharge on lead car batteries and spent tires.  LED’s are coming down in price.

        GA Girl
        January 21st, 2011 at 10:53 pm
        Damn, girl…good for you!!  Not like some neighbors who laugh at me for stocking, storing, covering windows with plastic sheets…
        You all have one…the neighbor who won’t let the wife prep, but depends on that Kaliforney pension check each month to pay for that ‘ top of the line’ checking account, all those ‘premium’ channels, mulch every 3 months, $15 dollar laundry detergent…well…you get the picture!!


        Well, I’m butting in here and I use Diatomaceous Earth( food grade) to sprinkle in my buckets, etc to kill any’s used for animals, pets just for this and it works great,..indefinite shelf life, and is cheap!!! 

        Freezing, takes time and space!! and what if you don’t get all that moisture out before storing??  Just saying!

        January 22nd, 2011 at 10:01 am

        I have 16 rooms, equipped EVERY room one at a time (some were 4.50 each) and didn’t see any change in my bill…I hate them, I hate the dim lighting, took every one down, will give away or yard sale and have 76 incandescent bulbs for when they take all incandescents off the market!!

        The disposal of BILLIONS of bulbs with mercury will be the biggest problem in this nation concerning those bulbs, not conserving energy…

      42. Dry ice.  I agree JJ, moisture can be a problem.  Unless you leave a bag of rice in the truck of your car in the winter time for a couple of cold nights.  It’s the moisture in your house that is attracted to the frozen food when it is brought out of the freezer.  Large mylar bags can be tuff to vacuum.

      43. I agree that pasta, rice, beans, oats are a cheap and effective way to store food.  Learn to use wheat it has great advantages for storage.  Don’t forget salt, sugar, baking powder, spices, yeast, etc.    Flour is good too, it will keep for years,  All of these foods have one important thing in common; they are cheap.  I can buy 25 lbs of rice for $8 a little less for flour and a little more for sugar.   You should make these core cheap staples the center of your food storage.  Supplement them with the more expensive but nice to have things like canned broth, tomatoes, soups, meats, and freeze dried foods.  Some good advice for storing oil is to buy a couple of gallons for storage and give it to the food bank every year to 18 months and replace it so that your oil stays fresh. 

        If you are getting hassled by friends and family about your “hoarding” then you are making ahuge mistake.  Don’t tell anyone about your food storage!!  You are the master of the unspoken secret, once it is spoken you are it’s slave.  If the SHTF and your friends and family know you have food they will expect/demand you share.  If you don’t or if you don’t share enough you will be the bad guy and even be punished.  People have been killed for less.

        You can determine if you have enough (or too much) food by making a good inventory preferably using a spreadsheet.  List all the foods you store with the amounts and dates etc. down the left hand side.  On the right hand side put corresponding columns that break down this information into meaningful data.  For example I have 500 lbs of rice each 25 lbs is a seperate entry on the left (seperate so I can track buckets and dates).  On the right I show the 500 lbs as cups (1250 cups) the next column reflects servings (2500 servings).  These calculations are automatic so when I add or subtract from my storage the amounts adjust.  Another column reflects number of meals based on the number of family members with the ability to change the variable to understand what would happen if the kids were to come home.  With just the two of us 1250 cups of rice is 1250 meals but if the kids come home it is 250 meals.   Then deciding if I an storing too much or too little is much easier to decide.  

      44. I saw a headline that said, “Congress introduces bill to stop upcoming ban of incandescent light bulbs”

        I can’t stand those new mercury light bulbs either, they practically blind a person if you look directly at them even for a split second.

      45. Ga Girl,
        Yes, I meant bug eggs in the food.  My understanding is that they are in just about everything, and they can hatch if we don’t take the oxygen out of whatever container we are using.  Freezing kills the eggs, but then you might have a moisture problem.  I am using Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers, but there are other methods too, like dry ice and Diatomaceous earth.  I haven’t tried those, though.

        I keep a spreadsheet, too.  It’s a great way to keep up with how many calories we are storing, not just how many bags, lbs., gallons, etc.

      46. My first winter in rural Alaska, my family had to live on rice and beans. Our supply of wild meat ran out in early winter.

        Here is what I have learned. Tomato sauce, onions and spices. With these three items almost anything can be made edible. Just make sure some of your spices are peppers, black, chili and hot.

        I should have remembered this from my first hitch in the Army. Back in the C-rat days, tobasco sauce and onions made even ham and lima beans edible. I won’t assault your sense of propriety by telling you what the troops called them.
        Incandescent v CFL. Every winter (rural AK remember), I bring a few plants inside to finish out making seed. I use two 26W CFLs, 1 daylight and 1 warm-white to add hours to the low hours of daylight. Incandescents? No how, no way. I like them for winter outside lights because the CFLs don’t wanna fire.

        I would suggest everyone who is going to depend on thier garden to buy a book or two on seed saving. I have Suzanne Ashworth’s “Seed to Seed.” In every economic downturn, access to need supplies on a timely basis goes away. What good is a seed order showing up after most of the growing season is over.

        Oh and just to let you know, seeds have a lifetime. Some barely last one year, a bit longer if stored by freezing. In the case of tomatoes and potatoes, start them real early in buckets and once they get a foot or more high, you can clone them from cuttings. Last year from two potato plants, I got almost 100 starts. Right handy when the seed potato bin is awful low.

        Many have advocated “square foot gardening.” Been there, done that. Save yourself a bunch of work and go to wide rows and broadcast the seed. Transplants can use the spacing, but it ain’t rocket science requiring 8″ or 12″ spacings. Just eyeball it.

        I have broadcast peas in blocks of 25’x25′. Did fine with almost no labor until harvest. I just took a milk crate out to sit on and picked away.

        Grow plenty of greens, just don’t over-fertilize with nitrogen. These can be dried and added to soups,  stews and home-made pasta. Almost everything coming out of the garden can be dried. Even, potatoes. Google Chuno. Lambsquarter aka pigweed is a weed or maybe not. Great spring greens and the seed has been used as grain (amaranth family.)

        Let’s face it. The garden is your real income producer. Labor is fixed in duration per day. Plant as much as you can as labor-easy as you can. Then till and plant some more. 

        Learn to save seed by doing it. Tie ribbons on the best plants to identify them as seed plants.

        Hybrid seed: If it is all you have, use it and save the seed. It won’t breed true, but the seeds produce a variety within the variety; some early some never produce. Use what you have and can get. NEVER pay more for hybrids unless the variety has benefits far outweighing the non-hybrids.

        For you broccoli fans, look into broccoli raab. Quicker, produces some heads and prolific.

        If you have several hundred square feet available, grow some grain. Barley (hull-less) and wheat are best. Oats are a hassle to process into oatmeal, but groats aren’t a problem and rye can get infected with ergot (nasty bad kills you stuff aka St Vitus Dance.) You won’t get a lot, but you will get seed. Whatcha reckon a few pounds of grain seed will be worth as a trade good?

        The key is doing it. Practice while you can before it means the difference between survival and not.

      47. over the edge…..great points man!

      48. Comments…..BIFLATION

      49. I was making Eggo Waffles this morning for breakfast.  The old box only had one left so I opened up the new box (bought yesterday at Walmart) and the new waffle was about 25-30% smaller!!!  

        I held it up & showed it to my husband – it was unbelievable.  Wish I’d taken a picture!!  I plan to call them on Monday & question them about it.  I didn’t have the old box to compare the weight.  But I didn’t need to, I know I’m right.

      50. I’ve seen a lot of questions about hiding your food storage.  Here’s where we hide it.  A lot is under the master bed – we cut boxes down to about 4 or 5 inches used the trays to put canned food in them.  We took a coat closet & put shelves in it.  We put a new door handle with a lock on it & we’ve got it full to the top.  We also store in the guest room closet.  Overnight family might think we’re nuts but they are also storing on a smaller scale than us. 

        We are lucky to have lots of space even though 4 of us live here.  We have a closet with shelves in our pool house.  It is also filled to the top.   Again with a lock on the door.  I have some friends who store stuff in the closet/space under their stairs.

        One of our closets is 1st & 2nd qtr 2012 stuff.  One is 3rd & 4th 2012 stuff.  A third is 2013 & later dates.  Each shelf is labled (Jan/Feb 2012 or Mar/Apr 2012).  Makes stock rotation much easier.

        TP is stored in the master closet.  (we have enough for a year lol).  Shampoo, first aid stuff, dog food, etc. is stored in a closet off of our attic.  Is is not heated or cooled but it’s well insulated & not prone to overheating or freezing.  Not gonna store people food there but its great for other stuff.

        Remember, anything can be stored in a box that is sealed.  Just label it and turn the words to the back against the wall.  If you have 20 boxes in a closet stacked up, no one will ask what it is.  They’ll just assume it’s your accumulated junk! 

      51. Sorry – hit the send button and wasn’t quite finished!!
        @overtheedge…As was saying, will undertake seed saving this year and appreciate the rec for the book on the topic. Had a bumper crop in tomatoes and okra and beans last year, but need to do corn, and work on insuring a squash harvest. You’re right about learning to get it right now, before our survival depends on it!!
        @GA Mom – I’m like you – I have food, meds and tp stored everywhere!! But I’m about out of space, so I’ve been talking to son and husband about utilizing the area under the kitchen. That part of the house is pier and beam, and we had to cut into the floor a few years ago to replace old water lines. I have that part of the floor covered by a large indoor/outdoor carpet, so we can easily access it again. We are drafting plans to dig out a little, reinforce the sides of the hole, and store some of my long-term storage foods there. (#10 cans and jars). It’s cool, dark and maintains a fairly constant temp.
        In the batharoom off the master bedroom, I hung floor-to-ceiling dark curtains over almost the entire wall, using a rod that projects from the wall by 4″. I store pkgs of tp behind the curtain, nearly to the ceiling. Company seldom uses that bathroom, and even if they did, the tp isn’t obvious.

      52. GA Mom, I love your ideas.  I feel like we are packed into our house.  Space is a premium.  My husband (who is not totally on board, but understanding) bought me an antique Lane cedar chest.  They are airtight and it is perfect to store my dry goods in.  I am vacuum sealing stuff and also using apple juice bottles to put some things in.  It holds quite a bit and I don’t think bugs can live without air.  Rats would have a very hard time getting in also.  I normally keep a lot of extra stuff around, but after reading this and other sites, I have been doing more.  I have cleaned out the bottom of my closet so I can store some water in there.

      53. Guess the first part of my comment didn’t actually go through!! Sorry!
        @overtheedge – wanted to say thanks for your comments. You answered several questions I had about my next big learning/practicing project – seed saving!! We’ve been growing gardens for many years, but the only seed I’ve saved was okra and hatch peppers. Being in W TX, our growing season is not too far off!! Got to get early planting started soon for transplanting.

      54. What has record high prices: food, gold, new cars, taxes.  What is still under valued: silver & energy.  What is going down in value: fiat money, homes.  What is there more of today: food stamp users.  What is there less of today: middle class & jobs.


      1. Major Food Distributor Sysco: "IMMEDIATE VOLATILE PRICES, EXPECTED LIMITED AVAILABLITITY, AND MEDIOCRE QUALITY AT BEST." - [...] previously warned readers (Agflation Goes Retail and Broke and Hungry: This Chart Says It All) to expect this very…

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