November 04, 2010

Why I pay attention and read . . . . .

. . . . the business section of the newspaper and listen to the business/farm news on the radio and t.v.

Okay, it may not be the most interesting news of the day, but it is well worth my time. Today on the morning Ag. report, they reported that grain prices are indeed going up which will affect the price of cereal. So, cereal is going up – even though they wanted to remind us that there is only 5 cents worth of corn in a box of corn flakes. In other words, the cereal manufacturers are going to raise prices. Think of it, because of grain crops failing due to the bad weather this summer, there are a lot of food products that will increase in price. (If you have read about my pantry inventory, you know I have plenty of cereal on hand.)

Then, think not only about food products being made from grain such as cereals (along with prices of cornmeal and flour), but food products from grain fed animals. It would appear that meat prices continue to rise and dairy products will also go up in price due to the higher cost of feeding these animals.  Have you seen the price of butter?   It is a cause and effect issue that we can’t ignor.

I love coffee and so does my husband. While I have posted that we refrain from drinking pop, I would be hard pressed to give up coffee. I like the flavor of coffee. I’m not just drinking it for the caffeine. So when I read in the newspaper 6 weeks ago that coffee prices would be going up due to bad weather in South America along with Brazil and Vietnam talking about hoarding their supplies along with the fact that U.S. coffee stockpiles are at a multi-year low, I paid attention. All of this has led to worry about a supply crunch and thus prices have been driven higher. It’s all about supply and demand.

How does this information on coffee affect a coffee drinker such as me?

Up until this September, I paid the low sale price of $4.99 for a large canister (33 oz.) of Maxwell House coffee. Last month Maxwell House went on sale for $5.99 and I see in today’s newspaper it is on sale for $6.99 at Fareway.

So it would appear that $6.99 is the new normal for a 33 oz. canister of Maxwell House coffee. Even though I have a supply of coffee on hand, I have added coffee to my list of must buys right now. With many things, when the prices go up, they rarely go down even if the supply goes up and the demand goes down or there is a better crop. The $6.99 sale price on coffee may be the new normal. If I had not paid attention to the news, I would have still been expecting the old sale price of coffee at $4.99 and I would have waited for the old price – which would mean that I would be waiting forever since the new price is $6.99.  God forbid, it could go higher, so stocking up is a good idea right now.

Since we go through a lot of coffee, and truthfully I don’t want to cut back because it is the one true luxury we enjoy, I decided to try the Amy Dacyczyn approach. I tried it years ago, but didn’t like the results. In my first brewing of the day, I use fresh coffee grounds for 2 large cups of coffee. My husband takes a cup and I take a cup. Then, I usually want my second cup of coffee after my husband has gone to work, so I then reuse the grounds from the first brewing by adding half the amount of fresh coffee grounds that I would use to make one additional cup of coffee to the used grounds from our first brewing of the day. Guess what? I love it. It works great and I haven’t noticed the coffee being weak. I believe it is due to the coffee maker.

My coffee maker has a regular and strong setting. I always set it to strong as I obviously love strong coffee. The strong setting makes the water drip slower onto the grounds to get the stronger flavor. I think that when I make my second cup of coffee with a combination of used and new grounds, I get a great cup of coffee because the water continues to drip slowly over the grounds. The next cup of coffee I use all fresh grounds and then the next brew I use half and half and so on.

If coffee continues to rise, I will end up buying a good store brand if it is cheaper or I will buy the store brand and mix it with the name brand such as Maxwell House or Folgers.  As a side note, the large canister of Maxwell House is 33 oz. and Folgers is around 28 oz.  Folgers goes on sale at the same price as Maxwell House but you don't get as much in the container.  In today's grocery store you have to watch the sizes of products when doing a comparison.

Lastly, because of those grain prices, ham and turkey have gone up in price as compared to recent years.  However, I am still glad I didn't take part in that big sale last week as it wasn't a good deal since we don't drink pop.   This week whole turkeys are on sale for 69 cents a lb. (or 39 cents a lb. if you buy $50 of groceries which I don't need), bone in turkey breasts are $1.49 lb. and boneless ham is $1.99 lb.  Last year's prices were whole turkeys for 39 cents a lb., bone in turkey breasts for 99 cents lb. and boneless ham was $1.50 lb.  These could be the new normal sale prices and I can either wait another week or I can go ahead and buy the meat now.  I always feel that if I buy something now that goes on sale later, I remind myself that at the time I felt it was a good deal and I don't get upset.  I just do the best I can with what I know at that time.  That is all I can do and I don't beat myself up about it.

So, the Agriculture or Farm Report and Business Section of the newspaper may not be the most interesting news in the world to listen to or read, but it is the news that affects me and my family the most and it is well worth the time to educate myself on what is going on that could affect changing food prices.


Maureen said...

I only drink instant coffee as I,m not a lover of a strong cup of coffee, last week I bought a 17oz tin of Nescafe Blend 43 for $13.99 on special. I,m not sure how this would compare to the prices in your stores, but I made a saving of around $10 and it will last the three of us about a month, as we all take a level teaspoonful per cup.

Martha said...

The next time I'm at the grocery store I'll have to check to see how that price compares here in the States.

My dad drank instant coffee. He mixed a lot of sugar and cream into it and when I was a little girl he would let me have a taste every now and then. He used a cup and saucer and would pour some of the hot coffee into the saucer to cool and then pour back into the cup.

His coffee always tasted so good. Now I like brewed coffee with just a little sweetener in it.