Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Food scarcity, famine, and high prices (UPDATED)

Update at bottom

The Tribulation will be rife with plagues, and one of them is famine. (Rev 6:5-6). People will be hungry. They will die from it. Others will hang on, a full day's wage paying only for a loaf of bread. Scarcity will be the word. Jesus foretold it also in Luke 21:11, "There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven."

The world has experienced a plethora of natural disasters that have disrupted food growth. Other disasters have set up conditions (such as drought or flooding or acreage loss) that prevent food growth. It has been a perfect storm of conditions to set up the imminent fulfillment of the above prophecy.

Food prices are another thing that needs a look at. Despite massive losses of rice, soy, corn, beef and other commodities, prices have remained uncomfortably high but at least steady. According to the Wall Street Journal, that is about to change.

Prices Rising, for Better and Worse
Surge in Food Inflation Hits Both Consumers and Retailers
"Stable food prices have been a silver lining in the weak economy. That is changing fast. The U.S. Agriculture Department on Tuesday said it expects retail food prices to increase 3.5% to 4.5% this year, after climbing just 0.8% in 2010, the slowest rate since 1962. The midpoint of the new USDA outlook signals the sharpest acceleration in the food inflation rate from one year to the next since 1978, and makes the increase itself the biggest since 2008, when prices rose 5.5%. The agency issues a monthly forecast for retail food inflation, which has been building for several months, and had been predicting an increase of 3% to 4% since February."

It's not only prices that are rising, but packaging is getting devious and deceptive. At one store I regularly shop, an admittedly huge deal has been the corn flakes. The box was 24 ounces, huge, and the price under two dollars, usually $1.95.

This time, I saw the tags lining the shelf, the sale starburst with the large price being touted, "ROLLBACK! $1.85!" 'So," I thought, "They lowered the price." I stretched up to grab a box and immediately noticed it was smaller and lighter than the one I have at home.

When I got back to the house, I pulled down the corn flakes I already had. Yup. Here is the evidence:

The old box was 24 ounces. The new box is 18 ounces. They shrank the box by six ounces! Egregious.

The Center for Media and Democracy wrote in 2008:
"Sneaky Manufacturers Shrink Packaging, While Keeping Prices the Same"
"Prices of your favorite grocery items are skyrocketing, but you probably don't know it. Many companies are using a sneaky way to raise prices without driving customers to less expensive brands: they are shrinking their packaging. A jar of Skippy peanut butter, for example, is the same height and circumference it has always been, but now has a hidden, inward "dimple" on the bottom that decreases the amount the jar holds by two ounces. Boxes of breakfast cereal appear to be the same height and width they've always been, but manufacturers have reduced the boxes' depth from front to back, decreasing the amount of cereal they hold. Rolls of Scott toilet tissue contain the same number of sheets as always (1,000), but the length of each sheet has been cut from 4 to 3.7 inches. A "six ounce" can of Starkist Tuna now holds just five ounces. When asked about the shrinkage, most companies point to higher costs for ingredients, manufacturing and fuel. Dan Howard, a marketing professor at Southern Methodist University, says the only way consumers can fight back against this sneaky way of increasing costs is to refuse to buy from manufacturers who engage in this deceptive tactic."

It's six of one, half a dozen of another, as the old saying goes. Whether you raise the prices or reduce the packaging, food is getting more expensive. It's just simply getting harder to live. But they ain't seen nothing yet. Repenting will take care of the worries anyone has about living - in this life or the next one to come. :)

Jesus is waiting for you.

UPDATE: The Arab Herald reports:
Thai floods may cause global rice shortage
Thailand’s flooding has wiped out as much as 14% of paddy fields, drastically reducing the export capacity of the world’s biggest rice exporter and potentially increasing global food prices. The worst flooding in the country in 60 years has destroyed 1.4 million hectares (3.5 million acres) and as much as 7 million tons of crops, the government says.


4 comments:

  1. I am so glad you mentioned this! For the last 2 years, I have been noticing these types of packaging frauds going on at my local supermarket. One of the most noticeable is the new 7 oz package of Kraft cheese. Who uses stuff in 7 oz increments? But, as you mentioned, it is a sign of food inflation and worsening economic times for all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Getting our grocery budget to stretch and still get the same amount of food is becoming a challenge for me as the shopper of our household. Thankfully, we are not in a hurting situation, but I can fathom the difficulty others might be having... Not to mention what those in third world countries must be enduring. Can't imagine the level of starvation that will be present in the Trib.


    Emily, www.extendingeagerhands.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. So weird, my brother just visited Bangkok a week and a half ago and I was asking my father if he knew about the floods. He went on to say that Bangkok never gets flooded but I had a feeling that would change. We are not living in normal times.

    I will let my mother know to stock up on rice if possible.

    It's really sad watching things like this unfold, there's a way out, there's salvation but many don't want to hear it.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Emily,

    Yes well said. I am in that boat as well. I spend $20/week on hard goods and $30/week on perishables. I eat the same things each week and buy the same brands and food on sale. With that rigidity and regularity it has been very easy for me to track my consumption balanced against my budget. Within my budget of $30 I find that over the last three months it has gotten really hard to buy the same things and stay within my budget...AND make the food stretch one week.

    ReplyDelete

Praise the Lamb, who is building His church

Crazy world! But the sane world is coming, and Jesus will rule and reign. So we study end time prophecy in order to obey the command of Him ...