My husband and I recently experienced the effect of food inflation in the Philippines first-hand.
We were on our way home from our daughter’s school when he saw his favorite carenderia, where he usually buys dinakdakan, an Ilocano delicacy made with grilled pork parts and a calamansi or mayo dressing with onions and chili peppers.
He asked me to get him some, and I was surprised to find that the price had gone up from ₱80 to ₱120 for one small cup since our last purchase a few weeks ago.
The Philippines is no stranger to the effects of food inflation. Prices have been steadily rising, leaving many consumers feeling the pinch in their wallets.
From basic staples like rice and vegetables to specialty dishes, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for people to afford meals that were once affordable. This has left households struggling to make ends meet while trying to feed their families nutritious meals on a budget.
Fortunately, there are practical steps you can take to stretch your budget and make your money go further.
In this article, we’ll explore seven ways to help you reduce the impact of food inflation on your wallet. From shopping smart to making your own meals, we’ll provide tips that you can start using today to help you cope with the rising cost of food in the Philippines.
Understanding Food Inflation
What is Food Inflation?
Food inflation is a rise in food prices over time. It is measured by the increase in the cost of food products and services. Inflation is a natural occurrence in any economy, but when it comes to food, it can have a significant impact on people’s lives. Inflation can lead to a decrease in the purchasing power of consumers, making it difficult for them to buy the food they need.
Causes of Food Inflation in the Philippines
The Philippines is particularly vulnerable to food inflation due to its reliance on imported food products, which are subject to global price fluctuations. Additionally, natural disasters such as typhoons and droughts can disrupt food production and supply chains, leading to higher prices. Other factors that contribute to food inflation include:
- Rising fuel and transportation costs
- Increased demand for food products
- Fluctuations in currency exchange rates
- Changes in government policies and regulations
According to a report by the World Bank, food price inflation exceeded overall inflation in 90% of the 162 countries they studied. This means that food prices are rising faster than the cost of other goods and services, making it a significant issue for consumers in the Philippines.
The Impact of Food Inflation in the Philippines
Effects of Food Inflation on Filipino Households
Food inflation has a significant impact on Filipino households, particularly on those with lower income. The rise in food prices means that households have to spend more on food, leaving less money for other essential expenses such as housing, education, and healthcare. This can lead to a decline in the standard of living and an increase in poverty rates.
A report by the Philippine Statistics Authority in 2020 found that 16.7% of Filipino households experienced involuntary hunger due to lack of food or money to buy food. These issues have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts.
Additionally, a study by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in 2019 found that food insecurity is a major issue in the Philippines, with 59% of households experiencing moderate to severe food insecurity.
This highlights the vulnerability of Filipino households to food inflation and the need for practical solutions to mitigate its impact.
Effects of Food Inflation on the Philippine Economy
The impact of food inflation is not limited to households but also extends to the Philippine economy as a whole. The country’s food trade deficit, which is the largest in Southeast Asia, makes it more vulnerable to fluctuations in global food prices.
As food prices rise, the cost of production for businesses increases, leading to higher prices for goods and services. This can lead to a decrease in consumer spending, which can then result in a slowdown in economic growth. Additionally, food inflation can lead to a decrease in foreign investment due to the perception of increased economic instability.
According to a report by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the Philippines’ food trade deficit has been negative 2% of GDP in the past three years. This highlights the need for practical solutions to reduce the impact of food inflation on the Philippine economy.
Practical Ways to Reduce the Impact of Food Inflation
Grow Your Own Food
One way to combat food inflation is by growing your own food. This can be done in a small backyard or even in pots on a balcony. Not only can it be a fun and rewarding activity, but it can also save you money on groceries. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you can ensure that your food is fresh and free from harmful pesticides.
READ: How I Started Growing Plants At Home
Buy in Bulk
Buying in bulk can help you save money on groceries. Look for stores that offer discounts on bulk purchases or consider joining a cooperative to buy in bulk with others. Be sure to check the expiration dates on items before purchasing and only buy what you know you will use to avoid food waste.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home can also help you save money on food. By preparing your own meals, you can control the ingredients and portion sizes, which can help reduce food waste. Consider meal planning and batch cooking to save time and money.
Reduce Food Waste
Reducing food waste can also help you save money on groceries. Plan your meals ahead of time and only buy what you know you will use. Store food properly to extend its shelf life and consider using leftovers in new meals.
Shopping wisely can also help you save money on groceries. Look for sales and discounts on items you regularly use, and consider buying generic or store-brand products. Compare prices at different stores and consider buying fresh produce from local farmers’ markets.
READ: 7 Tipid Tips To Make The Most Out Of Your Food & Grocery Budget
Look for Alternatives
If the cost of a certain food item has increased due to inflation, consider looking for alternatives. For example, if the price of beef has increased, consider buying chicken or fish instead. Look for recipes that use affordable ingredients and experiment with new flavors and cuisines.
Seek Financial Assistance
If you are struggling to afford food due to inflation, consider seeking financial assistance. Look for government programs that provide food assistance or consider reaching out to local charities or non-profit organizations. Check out this program for social services in the Philippines.
Food inflation is a major concern for Filipinos, especially those who are already struggling to make ends meet. The rise in food prices can have a significant impact on the daily lives of Filipinos, making it difficult for them to afford basic necessities like food and housing. However, by implementing the practical tips we’ve discussed in this article, Filipinos can reduce the impact of food inflation on their lives.
By being mindful of their spending, shopping smart, and making an effort to reduce food waste, Filipinos can stretch their budgets and make their money go further. Additionally, by exploring alternative sources of food, such as growing their own produce or buying from local markets, Filipinos can support their communities while also saving on their grocery bills.
It’s important to remember that reducing the impact of food inflation requires a combination of effort, planning, and creativity. By taking small steps every day, Filipinos can make a big difference in their budgets and their overall quality of life.
Ultimately, the key to reducing the impact of food inflation is to be proactive and stay informed. By staying up-to-date on the latest food prices, trends, and news, Filipinos can make informed decisions about their spending and take steps to protect their financial well-being. With a little bit of effort and a lot of determination, Filipinos can weather the storm of food inflation and emerge stronger and more resilient than ever before.
READ: My Manila Times article on how to reduce the impact of food inflation on your budget