The Budget Way to Get Organic Food Products

The craze to eat healthy has engulfed many people. They are shocked at the unhealthy life they are leading, they are worried about the frequent illnesses they are afflicted with, and they wonder how they can eat a better diet and lead a healthier life. So what do many of them do? They switch to an organic diet. They make the transition to eating foods that are grown without the help of chemicals. But such kinds of food products are not cheap. They are expensive. When they go to the store and look at the prices another thought strikes them. How can they buy these foods at an inexpensive price? How can they consume organic food and remain healthy on a limited budget?

The first thing to do is to make a budget. One should sit with a pen and paper and make a list of all the fruits, vegetables and juices that they want to buy. When they are making this list, they should first keep in mind that they are looking to eat healthy. So the list should first talk about all the food products that are good for the mind and the body. The money part can be thought about later. Once the list of all the healthy and organic food items have been listed then the next thing to do would be to list all the prices next to them. In case the budget maker is not sure of how much the products cost then they can always go online and look up the prices. A lot of information is available on the Internet and the prices of food products can be ascertained as well.

A lot of organic food items are available at major shopping markets and retail chains. By going online it is possible to not only check if the products are available at the supermarkets, but also what prices they are sold at. There are times when the products are not available immediately, but the retailer gives a date when it will be made available to him by his distributor. The budget maker will then know that on that day he has to visit the supermarket. That will also give him the time that he has to plan his budget, and complete his shopping.

Once he has made a list of all the products and all the prices, the next step the budget maker has to do is to decide which products are expensive and which products are affordable. This is not a question of simply looking at the numbers. One has to look at the value of the item. A healthy item is worth buying even if it is expensive, while another product might not be worth it even if it is cheap. Once this exercise has been completed, the budget maker will get a good idea of how much his organic products will cost.

The next thing the buyer will have to do is to check if the supermarket where he plans to buy these goods offers any discounts. Many stores also offer gift coupons and this helps save the buyer plenty of money. Some of these coupons have a set deadline to them and the buyer needs to avail of this offer before that time limit. The coupons can usually be found during the holiday season, and it is a good time to make bulk purchases.

The other thing that many people do to save cost even more is to grow organic fruits and vegetables themselves. It is not too hard to get the right ingredients from the market and grow tomatoes and potatoes at home without using chemicals. Quite a few such part-time farmers find that they save a lot of money this way. Another useful tip that they offer to save money on organic products is to buy unpackaged foods from bulk sellers. Retailers spend a lot of money on packaging, and many buyers are surprised as to how much lower the cost of unpackaged products are. It is also essential to balance purchases by getting food items that are in season as they will be available in plenty and hence the cost will be significantly lower. By being smart about their purchases, buyers can reduce their cost on organic food items considerably.

Factors You Need to Consider While Introducing a New Food Product

Change is inevitable. It is impossible to progress without making necessary changes. What seems to be good and sufficient for today, may not be adequate for tomorrow. All aspects of our lives, starting from food to clothes, leisure to entertainment, jobs to careers need to be changed at some point of time for making advancements. Designers, providers and manufacturers of every product inevitably fail to meet the expectations of their customers after a certain point of time. Even when the products are absolutely up to the mark, manufacturers need to make changes to cater successfully to the changes in the tastes, preferences and requirements of customers.

Smart manufacturers recognize the significance of making changes and introducing new products in the market. They constantly strive to understand the changing tastes and needs of their customers in order to update their products efficiently. When it comes to our food habits, they keep on changing with the passage of time. The increasing popularity of ready made food products and a variety of junk food has marked a noticeable change in peoples’ food habits in recent times. Increasing work pressure and scarcity of time has led to a decrease in peoples’ tendency to prepare nutritious food and a tendency to opt more and more for ready made and junk foods. These changes in peoples’ lifestyles call for new food products that can successfully cater to their needs and preferences of customers.

When you are introducing a new food product in the market, it is necessary to keep in mind certain important aspects in order to make it a success. Let us discuss some of the significant factors:

  • Innumerable products are introduced in the market every year. The key to success is to make sure that the food product you manufacture must be something new and innovative, which would successfully cater to the requirements of the customers. It must fill an empty space in the market in order to become a success.
  • Make a thorough research to obtain necessary information regarding the local laws related to retail food jobs. The product you introduce in the market must be eligible to pass regulatory standards.
  • It is extremely important to make a thorough research of the market. You must obtain detailed information regarding every aspect related to a successful marketing of your product starting from the packaging to the store where you would sell your product to your target customers. You must know your target customers and their tastes and preferences in order to market your products more efficiently.
  • Make a list of all the necessary aspects including the services, proprietary tools and techniques and materials required to manufacture the new food product and market it to target customers. Considering these important aspects help in knowing the costs involved in the entire process, and also the various ways you can cut down on the costs while still maintaining the standard of the product.

Besides keeping in mind the above mentioned factors, it is also extremely important to take good care of sanitation and the local laws. It is also overly important to plan meticulously and carefully to carry out the entire manufacturing and marketing process efficiently and successfully.

Half the Food Produced Globally Is – Wasted?

One year ago, a report was released by the United Nations Environment Program that over half of the food produced globally is lost, wasted or discarded as a result of inefficiency in the human-managed food chain. This is a staggering fact that is substantiated by data from countries all around the world. It seems the food crisis that we are currently facing, blamed largely on decreasing yields due to climate change, depleted soil, lack of adequate water, and so on, is more a crisis of management than production. In fact, there is strong evidence, according to UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner, that the world could feed it’s entire population, right now, by simply becoming more efficient and reducing the horrific waste that is endemic to the food production industry.

Some figures:

• Up to 25% of all fresh fruits and vegetables in the US is lost between field and table.
• In Australia, food waste makes up half of that country’s landfill.
• In the United Kingdom 30% of all food purchased every year is not eaten.
• Losses in the field between planting and harvesting are around 40% of the potential harvest in developing countries due to pests and pathogens.
• In Africa, 30% of landed fish is lost through discards and spoilage.
• Approximately 30 million metric tons of fish are discarded at sea every year.
• India looses up to 50% of it’s fresh food because of inadequate storage and distribution.
• In South East Asia 37% of rice is lost between field and table. In China, the figure is up to 45%, in Vietnam, it’s estimated to be 80%!

Another factor that accentuates the waste factor in America and Great Britain is the draconian penalties on food suppliers for failing to deliver agreed upon quantities of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. To avoid these crippling penalties, farmers are required to produce a much larger crop than can actually be sold or processed as a form of insurance against poor weather or other factors that might reduce their yield. In some instances, up to 30% of a crop is left to rot. Another 30% of that crop never reaches the supermarket because it is ‘sub standard’ or substantially trimmed for packaging purposes. Of the final produce that reaches our supermarkets, up to 50% is then thrown away.

While it is impossible to calculate the wastage of food from restaurants and all other places where food is served, the final figures of how much food is consumed, compared to how much is produced, must be an astonishingly small percentage. This system of putting incredible pressure on our food producers only so that at least half of what is produced can be thrown away, is clearly unsustainable.

This same study indicates that up to 25% of the world’s current food production capacity may be lost due to “environmental breakdowns” by 2050. Already, cereal yields have stagnated worldwide and fish landings are steadily declining. As the world’s population presses towards 9.5 billion by the year 2050 the demand on the world’s limited resources will reach a breaking point. We cannot ‘produce’ our way out of the next crisis, we must ‘conserve’ our way out.

What can you do?

1. Plan more carefully the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables that your family will consume on a weekly basis and limit your purchases to that amount.
2. When food is on the verge of going bad, cook it and freeze it. This works well with excess veggies that can be made into a soup and frozen, or apples which can be made into applesauce and kept longer.

3. Encourage your family to take smaller portions and go back for more if still hungry rather than filling your plate and throwing half away.
4. Learn to be creative with leftovers. Most meals can be recycled easily the next day into another meal or added to a soup or packed for lunches.
5. Feed your pet table scraps. In most cases, your animal will be healthier and that last piece of something that is too small to save will not be wasted.
6. If you shop at a store with large packs of produce or meat, consider shopping with a friend so you can divide the packages and not have excess food in your frige.
7. At restaurants, bring a Tupperware to take home leftovers or opt to share a meal if the servings are particularly large, or simply eat an appetizer and soup or desert.
8. If you find you’ve made more than your family can eat of something, bring the leftovers in to your office to share. Maybe have a potluck Thursday when leftovers can be pooled for a fun meal.
9. Shop at your local farmers market to help small scale farmers and get your produce days after harvest instead of weeks at the supermarket.

Gasoline Prices And Their Influence On Commercial Agriculture Vs Local Food Production

Most of the places I’ve lived, I’ve had a small garden adjacent to my home. I’ve been able to walk right out my door and harvest fresh herbs, greens, sometimes tomatoes, peppers, or fruits like strawberry, raspberry, or cherries. This experience is very different from the food supply most people in the United States experience, and which I also partake in.

Most food in the U.S. is consumed when people go to the supermarket, purchase the food, and then take it home. Behind the scenes though, a lot of things needed to happen in order for that food to reach the supermarket: the store had a whole infrastructure supporting it. Larger supermarkets often have central supply and distribution centers, which collect the food and then ship it out to smaller stores. Trucks deliver the food. Food is shipped around the world on barges and across continents on railroads and by long-distance truck lines.

The disparity in gasoline or petroleum usage in these two models

There are many differences between the model of growing your own food, and buying it at the store, but one of the most striking ones, and the one that I will focus on here, is their difference in gasoline or petroleum consumption.

Growing food outside your own home takes minimal fuel; it can be accomplished with no fuel at all, and if it uses any fuel, it is only in driving to the garden center to buy plants or driving to the store to buy some tools–and these trips only occur at most a few times.

On the other hand, the model of food production and distribution that gets food to the supermarket is petroleum-intensive. Fuel needs to be burned at each stage of the shipping process, and since most people drive to the supermarket here in the U.S., fuel is also burned in that last stage of the process. There is typically even a lot of fuel used in the production itself, to fuel large agricultural machinery, as well as shipping of supplies to the large commercial farms that produce the food.

Commercial agriculture is more sensitive to gasoline prices or oil prices

Considering the massive disparity in fuel usage, it is obvious that large-scale commercial agriculture is much more sensitive to gas prices than home gardening or small-scale local farming. In many cases, you can even observe this influence in the price of various goods on the shelf in the supermarket. When oil prices go up, certain food prices tend to go up, and vice versa when prices fall.

If we want to support small-scale local food production

There are numerous, compelling reasons to shift food production in our society away from large-scale commercial agriculture and towards more small, local production. These include greater economic self-sufficiency, greater sustainability, reduced pollution, reduced dependence or oil, diversification of local economies, increased freshness of food and the health benefits that come with it, and increased knowledge and experience with plants, farming, and agriculture that comes with more people being closer to and more involved in the food production.

I see two takeaways from this: the first is that rising gas prices create a strong incentive for smaller-scale, local food production. The second is that supporting this more traditional system of food production, even if it is with something as simple as having a garden at your home, can help us to become less dependent on oil and help our food supply to be less sensitive to gasoline prices.

A hidden benefit of the federal gas tax

The federal gas tax has historically been unpopular, but there has been growing support in recent years to raise this tax as a way of funding the unsustainable costs of road and highway maintenance and construction. The dependence of commercial agriculture on petroleum illustrates another hidden benefit of raising this tax–the creation of stronger incentives for local food production.