Grocery Prices Surge 25% in 3 Years: How Going Green Could Save Your Wallet

If asked to name a location that causes people the greatest amount of anxiety, few would answer the grocery store. Once a place seen as tedious and mundane, these shops have become a financial landmine with little instruction on how to defuse them.

The Problem

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In the past three years, The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a 25% spike in grocery prices, adding to the financial strain on modern families. So, what is the optimal solution in times of tight fists and increasing prices?

The Solution

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Simple: switch to a plant-based diet. While prices for goods like meat and seafood continue to climb, the cost of produce has followed a downward trend.

A Cheap Substitute

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Substituting for foods like chickpeas, lentils, and fresh vegetables has been cushioning the blow to people’s wallets. In fact, those who have embraced a greener diet have seen savings of around 20% on grocery costs.

The Cost of Green

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And more people have begun to endorse this approach than expected. A 2023 Gallup poll notes that of the 13 million vegetarians in the USA, 7% of them are classified as lower-income.

Politics on a Plate

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Additionally, political leanings have been tracked in who goes meatless. The same Gallup poll found that 9% of liberals identify as vegetarian, compared to 3% of conservatives.

Most point to green politics as the driver of this gap, as many liberals rank sustainability as a top concern.

An All-Around Benefit

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Of course, there are additional benefits to forgoing meat. Promoters of the lifestyle are also motivated by factors such as health concerns and animal rights. 

Food is Medicine

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“Ample evidence suggests vegetarians live longer and have lower rates of chronic diseases…” says Natalie Parletta, a nutritionist with a PhD. Parletta says that vegetarianism can serve as a good beginner’s course to creating a healthier life.

Heartstrings, not Hamstrings

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Others are less sensitive to those on the fence, such as Social Distortion lead singer Mike Ness: “…why is a cow or a pig different, or a chicken different? They are just as much of a gentle animal as a dog or a cat?”

On the Fence

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While adopting a greener palette has a host of positive effects, some people still have reasons for not being completely on board.

Watch Your Step

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Committing to a complete plant-based diet may not guarantee savings, however. Shopping for high-end organic products and hard-to-find ingredients can cost a small fortune if not careful.

Quality or Quantity?

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Likewise, others find challenges with getting sufficient amounts of protein and other nutrients on a vegetarian diet, which requires sharp attention to meal planning and quality of food intake. 

Be Flexible

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Katherine Livingstone, PhD, suggested that a more flexitarian model may be better than a total embargo on animal protein. “Meats are a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals.”

You Are What You Eat

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Depending on geography or cultural background, others could struggle with pressures to eat meat or give up staple meals they grew up eating.

Not for a Billion Dollars

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Billionaire Bill Gates backs these ideas. The former Microsoft CEO and ex-vegetarian wrote, “I came to realize that it was a luxury for me to spurn meat. In most places, as people earn more money, they want to eat more meat.” 

A Quick Guide to Get Started

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With this in mind, it’s hard to determine what’s true and where’s the best place to start. So, let’s review some ways to get started on limiting meat consumption while keeping the grocery bill minimal.

Seasons Greenings

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Seasonal produce is fresher and cheaper than out-of-season alternatives. Exploring new recipes with seasonal ingredients can help diversify options without breaking the bank.

Don’t Trust the Process

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Across both sides of the green diet aisle, experts agree that processed foods (plant-based or otherwise) aren’t healthy.

Processed vegetarian meat substitutes are overpriced and lack vital nutrients. When possible, shop for whole foods like fruits and vegetables.

Leftovers Are Your Friends

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Before cooking, consider the amount of ingredients you are using. Incorporating additional amounts or uneaten extras helps limit food and financial waste.

Time to Dig in

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The evidence is quite clear. Vegetarian diets can reduce overall food costs. It may take additional planning and some creative spirit, but what’s it all worth to cut costs in a world where the price tag never seems to drop.

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The post Grocery Prices Surge 25% in 3 Years: How Going Green Could Save Your Wallet first appeared on From Frugal to Free.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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