Tuesday, March 15, 2011

One Month Experiment

How much does it really cost to eat?

  • I occasionally hear comment that junk is cheaper than healthy food.
How can that be? Raw ingredients in bulk, shipped from the farmer, which is what produce and dry goods are, must cost less than the same ingredients plus processing, plus packaging, plus advertisement, plus profit.
  • I also read whole populations, most recently Egypt, live on $2 a day, and spend 50-70% on food.
That's $1-2 per day. With inexpensive global shipping, does food anywhere cost more?

This is my 28 day experiment to discover what I'm really spending. Starting with a partially unstocked pantry, I save every receipt, for 4 weeks, and total. I shop at inexpensive produce markets, which have fresh produce, but also shop at Whole Foods for bakery, cans and condiments that have short ingredient lists. Most of my seasonal fresh produce and bulk grocery purchases are under $1 per pound. Bakery, condiments and spices cost more.

So I figure:
  • $1 per poud * 4 pounds per day * 30 days = $120
Why 4 weeks? Long enough to stock and use bulk grocery stores, like 10 lb bag of rice, 10 lb bag of potatoes, etc. It also help plan shopping and stocking for longer periods, like emergency and earthquake stores, or provisioning a long passage by boat.

This will also help me baseline how much fresh produce vs. how much bulk groceries? (Try 10 lbs rice, 20 lbs potatoes, etc.) How much canned tomatoes and canned beans, how much dried beans and lentils. How much bread? How much mustard, ketchup and pickles? You get the idea.

The result:
  • $160 per month
That's higher than I expected. Need to look closer, but my initial guess is bakery and condiments nudged the costs upward.

No comments:

Post a Comment