Across the world, households are experiencing an exponential rise in food inflation. This holiday season, from Brazil to China to European countries to the US, households will pay near-record prices for food, which begs the question: Are households able to afford traditional food, or will they resort to substitutes to save money?
“You might be able to trade down on some things; instead of the high-priced turkeys or steaks, you might consider something less expensive on that side of the dinner table,” Curt Covington, senior director of institutional credit at AgAmerica Lending, which lends money to farmers, told Bloomberg.
“But there’s no escaping it: Everything on the holiday table “is just going to be more expensive,” Covington said.
For example, working poor Americans have had trouble affording essential goods amid rapid inflation. A staggering 6.8% surge in consumer costs is the highest in four decades, making things like food unaffordable because wages haven’t kept pace with inflation. The same is happening for households worldwide.
With that in mind, households are likely to substitute popular holiday foods with low-cost items. There’s even a chance that some might resort to eating bugs and worms.
European member states certified house crickets, yellow mealworms, and grasshoppers as food fit to be sold at supermarkets.
The bugs will be sold in frozen, dried, and powdered forms and will be packed with nutrients and low-cost, according to Bloomberg. Earlier this month, the World Economic Forum published two articles explaining how people must get used to eating bugs. Those who can no longer afford meat, such as ham or turkey, and other traditional holiday foods will come to find a new substitute. Bloomberg provides examples from across the world of how food inflation crushes holiday cheer.
Brazil: Amazon Fish Replace Pricey Imports
Fatima Santos describes her family’s planned Christmas Eve supper in 2021 in one word: lean. Neither cod nor turkey—traditional centerpieces in many Brazilian homes for the holidays—will make the cut this year, the 41-year-old unemployed hairdresser said while combing the shelves for deals in a Rio de Janeiro supermarket. “Egg is the new steak in our home. Even rice and beans are super expensive,” she said. That’s hardly a seasonal specialty, but the staple dish might grace more holiday tables like hers as meat prices become increasingly hard to stomach.