Lately every time we buy something we’re shocked at the price. We’re way too young to start sayin shit like “I remember when lettuce was 49 cents a head” as we use our last kidney to pay for groceries. How the fuck are we supposed to enjoy the holidays when everything from gas to vegetables are skyrocketing in price?
This isn’t something our brains are exaggerating. This is a real and global problem. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations has tracked world prices on food commodities- think wheat, vegetable oil, rice- every month for decades in their Food Index. In 2021 prices have increased month after month ending with prices 30% higher than they were when this hellish year began. There are lots of factors at play here from climate change causing difficult and unpredictable growing seasons, transit and supply chain issues, and last but not least, corporate greed.
Workers in the US and abroad have begun demanding livable wages to match the rapidly inflating costs of being alive, eating, going to the doctor, and living indoors. Employees at factories for the iconic American brand Kellogg’s have been on strike for months after years of forced overtime, reduced pay, elimination of benefits, and lack of worker protections. But rather than tap into their $1.25 billion in profits from 2020 alone, Kellogg’s has decided to replace all the striking workers.
What does this have to do with your grocery prices going up? Well, all the news about things like supply chain issues and workers demanding higher wages have given companies like Kraft, Kellogg’s, and all the rest an excuse to raise their prices- and thus their profit margins- by framing the price hikes as an inevitable reaction to the events in the world. That isn’t true. It’s greed. They aren’t paying their workers fairly and the modest increases in the cost of their raw goods and transportation could easily be shouldered by them but nOoOoOoOoOoOo.
Instead of affecting their ever-rising profits, they have decided to raise the price of their goods which hurts us, the nonbillionaires of the world. Let’s have some class solidarity and not give any more of our hard-earned cash to their business who could give two shits if your family can afford to eat. The heated floors in their 4th vacation homes are more important to them than your life. Fuck em.
So here are some tips to save a little cash next time you head out to grab some food that were picked up from Michelle’s time in the trenches at the grocery store.
1. Don’t waste your time trying to find the perfect box of tomatoes, create it.
Buying produce in a clamshell? Open that fucker and replace anything that looks like shit. You’re gonna buy it so you’re absolutely allowed to look inside and switch out whatever is past its prime. No one will say shit.
2. Don’t pay for what you won’t use.
If you're buying produce that is sold by weight and not individually, look to see if there’s anything you can remove that you wouldn’t use anyway, to lower the price. We’re talking about mushroom stems, carrot greens, whatever you don’t want. Most produce departments have a garbage can right there for that exact purpose. Use it.
3. Check the price per ounce, not just the list price.
Don’t waste your time doing the math on this. 90% of the time this information is right on the price tag, you just have to know where to look. It’s usually the smallest text on the tag.
4. Most store brands are the same name brand products you love.
The 365 Spring Water at Whole Foods is just Crystal Geyser with a different label and cheaper price tag. Trader Joes repackages beloved Uncle Eddie’s Cookies for their inhouse label at cheaper price than the brand sells for elsewhere. This is true of every single store with an inhouse label. The packaging of the goods usually looks very, very similar. This is a dead giveaway. A 2015 paper published by The National Bureau of Economic Research found that most consumers still avoid store brands. They studied 38,000 stores across more than 100 chains and found that American consumers would save $44 billion per year if they chose the store brand whenever possible. Don’t be a statistic. Save your money.
In short, food is expensive as fuck right now BUT if you avoid greedy brands and shop savvy, you can keep more money in your pocket than the dummy behind you in line.
This week on Forked Up, we explore Frosty the Snowman's criminal record, the classism behind caroling, and how cider was popularized by signing to trees. Michelle questions the media's motives surrounding Santa while Matt obsesses over a mysterious moon structure.
And finally, if you’ve been following along on the pod and on our social accounts, you know Michelle rescued a pup who was running through traffic here in LA. Well now that darling dog, Ginger, is up for adoption through our friends at LA Animal Rescue. She’s 1 year old, sweet as hell, good with other pups, fixed and chipped, and looking for her forever home. If you or someone you know is interested, please reach out or start an application with LAAR so we can make this pup’s holiday wishes come true.
Thanks again for joining us here in The Broiler Room. If you like what you see, consider becoming a supporting member. We’re able to independently produce our podcast without sponsors and keep ads off our website by the generous support of our audience.
Michelle and Matt