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Price Creep of Edibles/Drinkables - Does It Change You?


weinoo
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Lately I've been paying close to, if not over, $20 a pound for coffee. Yes, $20 a lb. A month ago, one of my friends and I split a pound of espresso beans that were $27.

I'm sure the price won't make me change my coffee drinking habits, though I may shop around for a cheaper source of the beans I like, and there won't be any more of that $27 a pound espresso.

But I'm wondering if there's a product that you have just stopped buying/using because of insane price creep? Or are planning on stopping once it hits a certain level?

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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And is it not just coffee. It is across the board insane. I keep expecting to see a six of Bud ponies for $10.99. I have already changed coffee as I am more a morning caffeine need than a day long drinker. And growing up an army brat it is not like coffee was anything but a delivery system.

Meats and the already mentioned beer have taken a leap. I have already taken to looking at different cuts of beef and watching sales of other meats to compensate. Also, the family packs at local butchers.

The beer thing just ticks me off. I am more a beer guy than wine or certainly spirits. And I love good beer, but when it gets to $10.99 a six for a regular strengh and materials beer that makes me pull the home brew supplies back out.

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I no longer buy Ortiz anchovies. I can't justify the expenditure, and I got tired of all those little forks cluttering up my kitchen's miscellaneous little gadgets drawer. The only store in my area that carried them, a very pricey organic and health foods market has stopped carrying them because of the price.

"A fool", he said, "would have swallowed it". Samuel Johnson

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No matter how much coffee goes up, I'm buying. I only drink one cup a day, black, and it is important to me. Other things, I'll just buy less frequently or figure out how to "extend" them. Example...hubby loves Sabra hoummus, which is $3.69-$3.99 for a tub and he can easily eat 2 of them a week. If I make some homemade (which isn't the same flavor/texture, but he likes it) and mix the two, I effectively cut the cost in half.

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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The beer thing just ticks me off. I am more a beer guy than wine or certainly spirits. And I love good beer, but when it gets to $10.99 a six for a regular strengh and materials beer that makes me pull the home brew supplies back out.

It costs more money to brew your own than to buy beer -- grain (or extracts) and hops have gone up as well. At one point in 2008, hops were running $30/pound if they could be found at all.

The trick for beer (and anything really) is to find the least expensive price per ounce. Kegs are the best bang for the buck, but require another refrigerator -- so factor in increased power consumption into the cost.

If kegs aren't viable, a 30-pack of Tecate cans is going for around $18 around here. Buying by the six-pack is almost always the most expensive (per ounce/per alcohol by volume). Look for case prices from larger-volume stores.

It's all about volume discounts.

I'm with you on coffee -- although Costco still has Rwandan beans for $5/lb. When that deal goes away, I'll start buying green Kenyan beans by the bushel and roast my own.

Edited by ScoopKW (log)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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It changes me in the respect that I buy less, and buy cheaper. I was religiously buying King Arthur flour at the supermarket at about 5 bucks for 5 pounds. I've changed to Trader Joe's brand for about $1.50 less per 5 pound bag. Is it as good as KA...? Not really, although TJ's isn't bad. But that $1.50 is a lot when you're on a very small fixed income. $20 wine isn't happening in my house any longer. $10 wine doesn't happen very often. House brand sugar and butter have become more common.

And yes, I realize I could buy KA in bulk from KA, at a cheaper per pound price, but that means coming up with more money at one time, rather than spreading it out over several purchases. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it truly is to me.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

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It changes me in the respect that I buy less, and buy cheaper. I was religiously buying King Arthur flour at the supermarket at about 5 bucks for 5 pounds. I've changed to Trader Joe's brand for about $1.50 less per 5 pound bag. Is it as good as KA...? Not really, although TJ's isn't bad. But that $1.50 is a lot when you're on a very small fixed income. $20 wine isn't happening in my house any longer. $10 wine doesn't happen very often. House brand sugar and butter have become more common.

And yes, I realize I could buy KA in bulk from KA, at a cheaper per pound price, but that means coming up with more money at one time, rather than spreading it out over several purchases. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it truly is to me.

There was a time not too long ago I could get KA at a local store for $3 per 5 lbs. Then it shot up to $5 and I went to Gold Medal AP. Pretty happy with the results, and I just can't ever see paying $1 per lb. May as well buy bread at that point.

nunc est bibendum...

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Flour's going to keep going up, too, I think. The wheat crop in China is failing.

Things are still comparatively cheap for me in China, because I earn a Western salary but pay (near) local prices. I know inflation is getting worse here, though. Chicken has almost doubled at the supermarket I shop at. It hasn't affected my purchasing choices yet, but it may start to hurt the restaurants I eat at.

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It costs more money to brew your own than to buy beer -- grain (or extracts) and hops have gone up as well. At one point in 2008, hops were running $30/pound if they could be found at all.

I don't know; I would have to run a cost analysis. I have all the equipment to do full grain and at one point was able to make five gallons of pilsner for around $5. I know how to culture yeast so that is a one time expenditure for each type.

Yeah, the hop wilt and malt issues around the time you noted were pretty ugly, but I hear that has ironed out. Not sure if that is true as it has been several years since I brewed.

The chicken thing noted is real here too. I live in GA. Chicken central. I can drive ten miles from my house and see some of the largest producers in the world. And yet, the price has shot up like crazy here. Good thing I don't need or care for boneless, skinless breat meat. That stuff is like gold.

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And yes, I realize I could buy KA in bulk from KA, at a cheaper per pound price, but that means coming up with more money at one time, rather than spreading it out over several purchases. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it truly is to me.

For what it's worth, buying KA flour from KA is no great bargain. I can get a 5-lb. bag of their A/P flour for $3.29 at Wegmans (down from $3.99 in recent months). Even when buying the 25-lb. bag online, you're still paying the equivalent of $4.10 for every five pounds of flour, and that excludes shipping.

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On a day-to-day basis it certainly changes me. If bacon is on my grocery list and I cannot find it for less than $5/lb then it quickly becomes a want versus a need. I usually have a price point in my head and anything that exceeds it will be dropped from my list to return when the price drops to more reasonable levels. In the long term I know I sometimes have to adjust and accept that certain things have simply increased in price and if I "need" them then I must bite the bullet. Sometimes I simply use less or use an ingredient less often.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

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There was a time not too long ago I could get KA at a local store for $3 per 5 lbs. Then it shot up to $5 and I went to Gold Medal AP. Pretty happy with the results, and I just can't ever see paying $1 per lb. May as well buy bread at that point.

I don't feel it pays to cut corners - excessively - when it comes to ingredients.

A loaf of bread generally takes less than a pound of flour (about 4 c to the pound), and flour is the key component. If you substitute brands and are NOT happy, you have wasted not only all the ingredients but your time and effort as well.

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Since I don't want my son to have more potato chips at one sitting then he should, I will, as an occasional treat, buy him the ninety nine cent bag. Which, in the past month, has gone up to a dollar twenty nine. Just like that. no explantion given.. :shock:

---------------------------------------

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And yes, I realize I could buy KA in bulk from KA, at a cheaper per pound price, but that means coming up with more money at one time, rather than spreading it out over several purchases. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it truly is to me.

For what it's worth, buying KA flour from KA is no great bargain. I can get a 5-lb. bag of their A/P flour for $3.29 at Wegmans (down from $3.99 in recent months). Even when buying the 25-lb. bag online, you're still paying the equivalent of $4.10 for every five pounds of flour, and that excludes shipping.

I'm buying high gluten flour in 25lb bags rom GFS for $8.99 which works out to about $1.80/5 pounds. I can get KA there as well for just a little more, but it's AP which I don't use much of.

But I'm definitely eating far less meat nowadays. We used to have ribeyes 2-3 times a week. Now they're really only for semi-special occasions. And it sems that those cheap cuts aren't so cheap as people learn how to cook them.

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There was a time not too long ago I could get KA at a local store for $3 per 5 lbs. Then it shot up to $5 and I went to Gold Medal AP. Pretty happy with the results, and I just can't ever see paying $1 per lb. May as well buy bread at that point.

I do a lot of baking for gifting at Christmas and religiously used to use KA. I was in the same situation of being able to get it at about $3 per 5 lb. This year, I looked at KA at $5 vs. Gold Medal on sale at $1.50. Dollars and cents wise, not a huge upcharge, but the % upcharge really bothered me so I switched to GM for Christmas baking. Neither I nor any of the giftees noticed any difference.

If I were doing artisinal breads, I might stick with KA

Edited by rickster (log)
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It's not just beer, cocktails are getting to be ridiculous. We were discussing this with the bartender last night at a place where the $8 drinks are considered a serious bargain. It started when someone mentioned that the Top of the Standard's new drink menu debuted with a $22 price per drink. The comment "$22 is the new $12" seemed to sum things up.

True rye and true bourbon wake delight like any great wine...dignify man as possessing a palate that responds to them and ennoble his soul as shimmering with the response.

DeVoto, The Hour

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It costs more money to brew your own than to buy beer -- grain (or extracts) and hops have gone up as well. At one point in 2008, hops were running $30/pound if they could be found at all.

I don't know; I would have to run a cost analysis. I have all the equipment to do full grain and at one point was able to make five gallons of pilsner for around $5. I know how to culture yeast so that is a one time expenditure for each type.

Gotta factor in the gas for heating the mash/sparge and boil, the chemicals for cleaning and sanitizing, power for refrigerating the fermentation vessel, the price of swing-top bottles (or kegs), filtration medium -- everything. Add to that all the equipment cost. Sure, propane burners are cheap and kegs can be converted into kettles fairly easily. It's the cellaring side that gets expensive -- conical fermenters, fermentation temperature control, etc. (I would factor in time to clean up, annoyed spouse, storage of fermenting beer/bottles/kegs/equipment. But that isn't really a dollars and cents issue.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for homebrewing -- it increases the market share of craft beer. But most people who homebrew don't do it for the savings. In order to make something as good as Sierra Nevada, it costs more to homebrew it than to just buy a keg of Sierra Nevada and keep it on tap.

(I can get 15.5 gallons of Sierra for a little more than $100. That's just a bit more than 5 cents per ounce. Wherever you live, there is a regional brewery putting out good beer at that price point.)

EDIT -- I also buy high-gluten flour in 25-lb bags. And I buy aluminum foil and plastic wrap at restaurant stores. It's all about getting the volume discounts. I've worked it out that shopping smart, and being energy smart allows us to take an extra 14 days vacation each year.

Edited by ScoopKW (log)

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I'm sure that the price of fuel has a lot to do with the surging price of edibles/drinkables.

With gasoline in the states well above $3 a gallon, it has to have an impact.

I'm quite content with buying Gold Medal or Pillsbury or Hecker's A/P flour. Hecker's was on sale this past Christmas at 2 bags for $3 and I loaded up. In cookies there is no noticeable difference and in flat breads it does a fine job too.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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It changes me in the respect that I buy less, and buy cheaper. I was religiously buying King Arthur flour at the supermarket at about 5 bucks for 5 pounds. I've changed to Trader Joe's brand for about $1.50 less per 5 pound bag. Is it as good as KA...? Not really, although TJ's isn't bad. But that $1.50 is a lot when you're on a very small fixed income. $20 wine isn't happening in my house any longer. $10 wine doesn't happen very often. House brand sugar and butter have become more common.

And yes, I realize I could buy KA in bulk from KA, at a cheaper per pound price, but that means coming up with more money at one time, rather than spreading it out over several purchases. It may not seem like a big deal to you, but it truly is to me.

If you want some High Gluten Flour( for bagels). I'm getting a 50lb bag thru a caterer in LB. My aunt works for him and he is letting me order it. Just let me know.

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I don't think we've ever, ever bought meat, fish or poultry unless it was on sale.Or fruit, vegetables or beer, for that matter. I plan my menu around the grocery store flyer. But chicken legs went on sale for 69 cents a pounds two years ago -- the sale price is now 1.29. Whaaaa?

Butter and flour go on sale before Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, and I try to buy enough butter so that the only other item that will squeeze into the freezer is an ice cube tray. Sigh, It's a late Easter this year.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

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margaretmcarthur.com

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I do sympathize but I'm somewhat bemused at Americans whinging about the price of food. I think the cost of food in the USA is still incredibly low. Maybe you are just catching up with the rest of the world a little. Of course the income share of the lowest paid, well actually the lowest 90% keeps dropping and that makes it harder.

But to leave politics out, I'm not terribly surprised that the cost of flour rising faster than your dough (pun intended). Much of the Canadian wheat couldn't be planted because of soggy conditions, quite a bit of the Australian couldn't be harvested for the same reason. The crop in Russia, and I think China got cooked by drought.

Here in Australia, the cost of most food is expected to skyrocket due to the floods and cyclone. Bananas were over $4/kg last I checked. And I refuse to pay $2 for a small lime.

It does affect me - especially with the culture shock of moving to a higher cost of living and lower pay. But in some ways it is good. I have brewed beer for the first time in years - I don't do full grain and had the equipment I need already. With drinkable ale costing $60 a slab, the economics work out. I try to cook more beans, shop more carefully and more often so I waste less food, and dine out because I want to, not because I'm lazy.

But yes, part of the change is thinking about when to get by with less, or lower quality. Sometimes it is hard to justify when the base cost of food is high and the incremental cost of getting something better is small.

It's almost never bad to feed someone.

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RE. the Flour thing. best to buy in bulk from a commericial rest, supply

I buy 100 pounds, (50 of high gluten and 50 of a lighter variety, for $35and it lasts a few months..

Bud

This works great if one has room to store it and in conditions to keep it from being invaded by nasties. I simply don't have that kind of storage space nor could I handle moving flour in huge amounts.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Short ribs! This is what I make for big family BBQs, either flanken cut or regular. I can always count on them going on sale a few times a year, usually around holidays, and when they do I buy at least 50 pounds and freeze them. For as long as I can remember they would always go on sale for $2.99#, but now $4.99#. Whaaa?

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