According to July data from market research firm IRI, consumers are having clear changes in purchasing food items when inflation is high. Consumers are gradually switching from beef to chicken, and they are also limiting going out to eat at expensive restaurants.
William Masters, professor at Tufts University said: “Food affects our mood a lot. Not being able to buy the things we’re used to, that’s a very difficult thing. Breaking any habit is hard work“.
Give up simple pleasures
For Carol Ehrman, cooking is an enjoyable experience: “I love to cook, it’s my passion“.
Carol Ehrman especially loves cooking Indian and Thai food, but stocking up on the spices and ingredients she needs for those dishes is no longer possible.
“Everything goes up in price, which makes the bill heavier“, shared Carol Ehrman.
“We used to spend 250-300 USD (5.9 – 7.1 million VND) on groceries and now it is 400 USD (9.4 million VND). We can’t spend any more“, said Mrs. Ehrman, 60, and her husband, 65, who now rely on income from Social Security.
About six months ago, Carol Ehrman realized she had to change the way she bought groceries in an effort to cut costs. Ehrman stopped mass shopping like before. Now this woman hunts for discount items, avoids buying beef, chooses cheaper wine. Ms. Ehrman also chooses to cook simple meals that are no longer as sophisticated as before.
Ms. Ehrman even had to forgo the preparation of basic items like ketchup because of the high cost, now opting for cheaper, prepackaged products:I know it’s always healthy to use fresh food, but those ingredients are too expensive right now“.
The Ehrmans live in Billings, Montana. They used to have a simple hobby of being with friends and relatives together, cooking and talking. But now everything is gone.
Ms. Ehrman said: “I have no joy anymore. So sad“.
Choose cheaper ones
Rick Wichmann, 64, and his wife have eaten out less often in recent years, due to the pandemic and in an effort to eat healthier. With menu prices rising because of inflation, they have no reason to go out to restaurants.
Rick Wichmann said:Eating out is very expensive. We feel happier when we eat what we cook“.
Even so, shopping for everyday items has also become more expensive. Over the past year, Wichmann found that he spent about 25% more than before on groceries for the whole family.
To help keep costs down, Rick Wichmann, who lives in Brookline, Massachusetts, started going to different grocery stores to find cheaper items.
The man also switched to different types of brands instead of sticking to some brands before. If two items are of equal quality, he will choose the cheaper one.
Wichmann also pays more attention to weather reports because they can affect prices. When the man saw reports of a shortage of tomatoes due to drought in California, the man immediately bought ketchup to keep for months.
Growing vegetables for subsistence
Like Mr. Wichmann, 38-year-old Jenni Wells also pays close attention to weather forecasts. A former chef and rancher, this woman understands price fluctuations.
Jenni Wells cho there: “My alarm bells began to sound when floods occurred that killed many livestock and destroyed crops. I know food prices will go up“.
She decided to renovate her front lawn in Fort Worth, Texas, to grow vegetables. This year, she has grown cauliflower, okra, tomatoes, peppers and more in her garden.
Now, the Wells family doesn’t spend so much money on food anymore: “I feel proud of every meal I create with my own hands“.
Avoid wasting food
Now, Altman, a mother of three in Austin, aims to keep her grocery bill at around $100 to $125 a week by buying the average brand. people, more pasta and a limited amount of protein than before.
Instead of ordering food out or grilling steaks and ribs, Altman’s family eats more basic meals in smaller portions.
“Now our meals have only one main course and come with some bread or a salad,” shared Altman.
If they’re eating out, they’ll choose a quick meal with a few items like burgers and fries, break up the portions, and take the drinks home.
When Altman can afford it, she will buy more fruits and vegetables. But she hopes some habits, such as encouraging children to avoid overeating and reducing food waste, will remain.
“I won’t spend $1,200 a month on groceries. Inflation has taught us that we need to live more frugally, not wastefully“, the mother of three added.