Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week from Feb. 20 to Feb. 26 focuses on helping Americans learn how to stretch their grocery dollars with healthy, nutritious food. America’s farmers and ranchers are committed to producing safe, healthy and abundant food, and they share a common concern with consumers when it comes to putting nutritious meals on the table while sticking to a tight budget.
The good news is that a recent USDA report favorably supports the economics of healthier eating. Recent food price data shows prices for unprepared, readily available fresh fruits and vegetables have remained stable relative to dessert and snack foods, such as chips, ice cream and soft drinks. Therefore, as defined by foods in the study, the price of a “healthier” diet has not changed compared to an “unhealthy” diet.
Farm Bureau’s Food Check-Out Week is aimed at helping American consumers learn how to shop strategically to put nutritious meals on the table with fewer dollars.
“Learning to use your grocery dollars wisely helps ensure that nutrition isn’t neglected,” says Bernard Sims, Catoosa County Farm Bureau president.
“Fruits and vegetables along with whole grains, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, fish, beans, eggs and nuts are an important part of a healthy diet. Buying fresh produce when it’s in season and costs less, while buying frozen fruits and vegetables when they’re not in season, is a smart way to stretch that dollar,” says Sims. “Knowing your food budget, planning balanced meals, making a list and shopping at competitively priced grocery stores are just a few strategies dieticians recommend to achieve better nutrition with less money, ”
Now in its 13th year, Food Check-Out Week also highlights America’s safe, abundant and affordable food supply, made possible by America’s farmers. According to the most recent information from the USDA’s Economic Research Service, American families and individuals spend, on average, less than 10 percent of their disposable personal income for food. In comparison, French consumers spend 14 percent; Chinese consumers spend 35 percent and Indonesian consumers spend 46 percent.
“The abundant, affordable and safe domestic food supply produced by America’s farmers allows our nation to enjoy a higher standard of living than that in many parts of the world,” said Sims. “Even with the challenges of today’s economics, we have access to a variety of healthy food choices and with solid planning, a healthy diet can be achieved.”
“Farmers are consumers, too and we are feeling the impact of the economic crisis through higher fuel and input costs,” said Sims. “Although you may be seeing higher retail prices for your food, please remember that on average, farmers only receive 19 cents out of every dollar spent on food. The rest of the food cost covers wages and materials for food processing, marketing, transportation and distribution. Recent food price increases are due primarily to higher energy costs associated with processing, hauling and refrigerating food products.”
Founded in 1937, Georgia Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general farm organization. The organization has 158 county offices. Its volunteer members actively participate in local, district and state activities that promote agriculture awareness to their non-farming neighbors.