If the expired Farm Bill isn't renewed, prices could reach up to $6 per gallon
While allergy-free cow's milk may be in the far future, it looks like expensive milk is in the immediate future: If the Farm Bill isn't renewed by the end of the year, the price of milk could double.
Senator Charles Schumer of New York took to the supermarkets to cry for lawmakers to act, the Associated Press reports. The 2008 Farm Bill expired officially yesterday. "They say you shouldn’t cry over spilled milk, but it seems perfectly reasonable to cry over a 100 percent increase in the price," Schumer told reporters yesterday after a press conference. (Great pun, too.) "This is an entirely avoidable and unnecessary burden on families, and it could be easily addressed," he continued. "All the leaders of the House of Representatives have to do is put the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill on the floor for a vote. It will pass, and we can avoid this problem all together." (Apparently, Schumer is a big fan of cold cereal and milk — so this is a personal and political problem.)
So what does this mean for your supermarket trip? The price of a gallon of milk could climb up to $6. The price of milk has continued to increase over the past year, the New York Daily News reported last year, and the drought from this past summer isn't helping matters. If only you could stockpile milk for the future.
The Farm Bill has passed the Senate but has been stalled in the House of Representatives.
Milk Prices Could Double In January If Farm Bill Is Not Extended
Got milk? Your answer may be no come January when milk prices could double.
If the Farm Bill is not renewed by Congress by the end of the year, the price of milk could surpass $6 a gallon, according to CBS News. That would be a big problem for Americans who are already spending on average 10.6 percent of their grocery budget on dairy products.
The Farm Bill currently regulates the price of milk. Without the bill, milk prices are projected to climb around four times higher than what the current bill permits, which could lead to skyrocketing prices in grocery stores across the country.
“My lord, the grocery stores, it’ll just be unbelievable,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told the Chippewa Herald “So Congress has to get this done.”
Dairy prices are already climbing due to this summer's record-setting drought. While cows in Illinois typically produce around 90 pounds of milk per day, today they're producing around 60 pounds, Jim Fraley of the Illinois Milk Producers Association told USA Today.
Milk isn’t the only refrigerator staple that is fueling an uptick in food prices. Prices for snacks like chicken wings, chips and burgers have skyrocketed as much as 20 percent and an increase in the price of feed for pigs due to the drought could lead to a bacon shortage in 2013. The drought has also caused fluctuating fruit prices, according to Business Insider.
Bloomberg News reported that Americans could pay between 3 and 4 percent more for food next year on top of this year's 3.5 percent increase, according to data from The Department of Agriculture.
Republican leaders in the House of Representatives have said they will not consider the new farm bill until after the November elections, according to ABC2 News.
Would you be able to afford milk if prices doubled? Let us know by emailing [email protected]
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated what percentage of a household budget is spent on dairy products. In fact, 10.6 percent of an American's grocery budget is spent on dairy products.
Organic Market Summary and Trends
Consumer demand for organically produced goods continues to show double-digit growth, providing market incentives for U.S. farmers across a broad range of products. Organic products are now available in nearly 20,000 natural food stores and nearly 3 out of 4 conventional grocery stores. Organic sales account for over 4 percent of total U.S. food sales, according to recent industry statistics.
- Organic food is sold to consumers through three main venues in the United States—conventional grocery stores, natural food stores, and direct-to-consumer markets.
- A typical organic consumer is difficult to pinpoint, but new research continues to shed light on consumer attitudes and purchasing behavior.
- Organic price premiums continue to remain high in many markets as the demand for organic products expands.
Organic Sales Widen in All Food Categories
USDA does not have official statistics on U.S. organic retail sales, but information is available from industry sources. U.S. sales of organic products were an estimated $28.4 billion in 2012—over 4 percent of total food sales—and will reach an estimated $35 billion in 2014, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
Fresh fruits and vegetables have been the top selling category of organically grown food since the organic food industry started retailing products over 3 decades ago, and they are still outselling other food categories, according to the Nutrition Business Journal. Produce accounted for 43 percent of U.S. organic food sales in 2012, followed by dairy (15 percent), packaged/prepared foods (11 percent), beverages (11 percent), bread/grains (9 percent), snack foods (5 percent), meat/fish/poultry (3 percent), and condiments (3 percent).
Most organic sales (93 percent) take place through conventional and natural food supermarkets and chains, according to the Organic Trade Association (OTA). OTA estimates the remaining 7 percent of U.S. organic food sales occur through farmers' markets, foodservice, and marketing channels other than retail stores. One of the most striking differences between conventional and organic food marketing is the use of direct markets—Cornell University estimates that only about 1.6 percent of U.S. fresh produce sales are through direct sales. The number of farmers' markets in the United States has grown steadily from 1,755 markets in 1994, when USDA began to track them, to over 8,144 in 2013. Participating farmers are responding to heightened demand for locally grown organic product. A USDA survey of market managers. ERS research found that demand for organic products was strong or moderate in most of the farmers' markets surveyed around the country, and that managers felt more organic farmers were needed to meet consumer demand in many States. See the ERS report for more on this topic:
Organic Price Premiums Remain High
Over the last decade, USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has expanded wholesale price reporting for organic fruits and vegetables, and added new price reports on organic grains, poultry and eggs, and sales volume for milk. Prices for organic products continue to be higher than for their conventional counterparts.
- AMS Market News publishes organic prices for fruit and vegetable crops in a number of terminal markets where prices are collected, including Atlanta and San Francisco. See ERS data on organic farmgate and wholesale prices for a comparison of organic and conventional prices from 1999 to 2013.
- Market News began reporting organic poultry prices in the weekly Organic Poultry and Egg report in January 2004. The report tracks prices paid to poultry or egg companies by the first receiver (such as a retailer, distributor, or manufacturer). See ERS data on monthly organic wholesale price averages for broilers and eggs, 2004-13.
- In January 2006, AMS began reporting sales (in volume) of organic fluid milk products in monthly milk marketing order reports. See ERS data comparing monthly sales of organic and conventional milk products.
- In January 2007, AMS began biweekly regional price reporting on organic grains, and now publishes single national grain and feedstuffs report available through the Market News website. ERS historical tables show national monthly grain and feedstuffs prices for 2011-13, and prior regional prices.
At the retail level, the two top organic food sales categories, receive significant price premiums over conventionally grown products. ERS also analyzed organic prices for 18 fruits and 19 vegetables using 2005 data on produce purchases, and found that the organic premium as a share of the corresponding conventional price was less than 30 percent for over two-thirds of the items. The premium for only one item—blueberries—exceeded 100 percent. In contrast, in 2006, organic price premiums for a half-gallon container of milk ranged from 60 percent for private-label organic milk above branded conventional milk to 109 percent for branded organic milk above private-label conventional milk. See the ERS report for more on this topic:
Organic Consumers Are Increasingly Mainstream
Numerous studies have been conducted on the buying habits and demographics of consumers of organic foods. Results have varied depending on the type of survey, sample size, and geographic coverage. However, a few general themes have emerged.
Consumers prefer organically produced food because of their concerns regarding health, the environment, and animal welfare, and they show a willingness to pay the price premiums established in the marketplace.
Organic products have shifted from being a lifestyle choice for a small share of consumers to being consumed at least occasionally by a majority of Americans. National surveys conducted by the Hartman Group and Food Marketing Institute during the early 2000s found that two-thirds of surveyed shoppers bought organically grown foods. For a literature review of organic consumer studies, see the ERS report:
This page summarizes the April 2021 forecasts, which incorporate the March 2021 Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index numbers.
Consumer Price Index for Food (not seasonally adjusted)
The all-items Consumer Price Index (CPI), a measure of economy-wide inflation, increased by 0.6 percent from February 2021 to March 2021 before seasonal adjustment, up 2.6 percent from March 2020. The CPI for all food increased 0.2 percent from February 2021 to March 2021, and food prices were 3.5 percent higher than in March 2020.
The level of food price inflation varies depending on whether the food was purchased for consumption away from home or at home:
- The food-away-from-home (restaurant purchases) CPI increased 0.1 percent in March 2021 and was 3.7 percent higher than March 2020 and
- The food-at-home (grocery store or supermarket food purchases) CPI increased 0.2 percent from February 2021 to March 2021 and was 3.3 percent higher than March 2020.
In 2021 thus far compared to 2020 (reported as "Year-to-date avg. 2020 to avg. 2021"), food-at-home prices have increased 1.0 percent and food-away-from-home prices have increased 2.3 percent. The CPI for all food has increased an average of 1.6 percent. Of all the CPI food-at-home categories tracked by the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the fresh fruits category has had the largest relative price increase (3.3 percent) and the beef and veal category the largest relative price decrease (0.4 percent).
In 2021, food-at-home prices are expected to increase between 1.0 and 2.0 percent, and food-away-from-home prices are now expected to increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent. Despite these predicted increases, inflation for most food categories is expected to be at or below their 20-year historical averages—exceptions include nonalcoholic beverages, other foods, and fresh fruit.
Recent Historical Overview
Between the 1970s and early 2000s, food-at-home prices and food-away-from-home prices increased at similar rates. Since 2009, however, their rates of growth have diverged. While food-at-home prices deflated in 2016 and 2017, monthly food-away-from-home prices have been rising consistently since then. The divergence is partly due to differences between the costs of serving prepared food at restaurants and retailing foods in supermarkets and grocery stores.
In 2019, retail food-at-home prices rose 0.9 percent. This increase was the second in 4 years, but the rate was still below the 20-year annual average of 2.0 percent. While prices for poultry, eggs, fats and oils, and fresh fruits declined in 2019, prices for all other food categories increased. Fresh vegetables had the largest annual average increase of 3.8 percent in 2019 and eggs the largest annual average decrease of 10.0 percent.
In 2020, food-at-home prices increased 3.5 percent and food-away-from-home prices increased 3.4 percent. This convergence was largely driven by a rapid increase in food-at-home prices while food-away-from-home price inflation remained within 0.2 percentage points of the 2019 inflation rate. The largest price increases were for meat categories—beef and veal prices increased by 9.6 percent, pork prices by 6.3 percent, and poultry prices by 5.6 percent. The only category to decrease in price in 2020 was fresh fruits, by 0.8 percent.
CPI Forecast Changes This Month
The CPI forecast range for food-away-from-home was revised upward this month. Forecast ranges for meat categories and fresh fruits were also revised upward.
Food-away-from-home food prices increased this month, driven by increases in prices for food from “limited service” vendors (locations where customers pay at the register before eating). Food-away-from-home prices are now predicted to increase between 2.5 and 3.5 percent.
Beef and veal prices increased 1.1 percent from February to March 2021 pork prices increased 0.2 percent and other meat prices increased 0.1 percent. The meat price increases were driven by high feed costs and strong domestic and international demand. For beef, supply chain problems due to recent winter storms in the Midwest and Texas have disrupted supply. High prices for sows have dampened pork production. Beef prices are still 0.4 percent lower on average in 2021 than they were in 2020. Beef and veal prices are now predicted to decrease between 0.5 and 1.5 percent in 2021—an adjustment upward from a 1.0- to 2.0-percent decrease, due to the recent price increases. Pork prices are now predicted to increase between 0.0 and 1.0 percent. Other meat prices are now predicted to increase between 0.5 percent and 1.5 percent.
Fresh fruit prices increased 0.7 percent from February to March 2021, rendering them 5.6 percent higher than in March 2020. This increase followed a 1.3-percent increase in February. Recent increases have largely been driven by the rise in apple prices of 2.7 percent from January to February and 0.9 percent between February and March. Citrus prices and the prices of other fruits increased 9.8 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively from March 2020 to March 2021. Fresh fruit prices are now predicted to increase between 2.0 and 3.0 percent in 2021. As a result, the price of the aggregate category of fresh fruits and vegetables is now predicted to increase between 1.5 and 2.5 percent. The aggregate category of fruits and vegetables, which also includes processed fruits and vegetables, is now predicted to increase between 1.5 and 2.5 percent.
Producer Price Index (PPI) for Food (not seasonally adjusted)
The Producer Price Index (PPI) is like the CPI in that it measures price changes over time. However, instead of measuring retail price changes, the PPI measures the average change in prices paid to domestic producers for their output. The PPI collects data for nearly every industry in the goods-producing sector of the economy. Three major PPI commodity groups are of interest to food markets: unprocessed foodstuffs and feedstuffs (formerly called crude foodstuffs and feedstuffs), processed foods and feeds (formerly called intermediate foods and feeds), and finished consumer foods. These groups give a general sense of price movements across various stages of production in the U.S. food supply chain.
The PPIs—measures of changes in farm and wholesale prices—are typically far more volatile than the downstream CPIs. Price volatility decreases as products move from the farm to the wholesale sector to the retail sector. Because of multiple processing stages in the U.S. food system, the CPI typically lags movements in the PPI. The PPI is thus a useful tool for understanding what may soon happen to the CPI.
The USDA Economic Research Service does not forecast industry-level PPIs for unprocessed, processed, and finished foods and feeds. However, these prices have historically shown a strong correlation with the all-food and food-at-home CPIs.
PPI Forecast Changes This Month
High feed costs, increased demand, and changes in the supply chain have driven up prices for wholesale meats and poultry. Cattle prices are now expected to increase between 3.5 and 6.5 percent wholesale beef prices are now predicted to decrease between 1.5 and 4.5 percent (compared to a 3.5- to 6.5-percent decrease predicted last month) wholesale pork prices are now predicted to increase between 4.5 and 7.5 percent and wholesale poultry prices are now predicted to increase between 5.0 and 8.0 percent. Egg prices are typically highly volatile and depend on the time of year farm-level egg prices are currently predicted to increase between -1.5 and 1.5 percent. Domestic and international demand for soybeans remains high. The increased price of soybeans has led to increases in the prices of wholesale fats and oils, which are now expected to rise between 13.0 and 16.0 percent. The farm-level prices of several vegetable products have experienced large decreases. For example, the prices of lettuce and tomatoes decreased by 23 percent and 46 percent, respectively. Farm-level vegetable prices are now expected to decrease between 1.0 and 4.0 percent.
For official USDA farm-level price forecasts, see: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates at a Glance. For additional information, detailed explanations, and analyses of farm-level prices, see Economic Research Service Outlook publications including Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, Oil Crops, Wheat, Fruit and Tree Nuts, and Vegetables and Pulses.
Last updated: Friday, April 23, 2021
For more information, contact: Carolyn Chelius and Matthew MacLachlan
Why make frosting with Crisco?
Some people prefer the flavor and texture of Crisco frosting. One of my husband&rsquos cousins requests Crisco frosting on his birthday cake each year.
Shortening is dairy-free, so some people choose to make Crisco frosting because they are allergic to dairy.
Crisco is a firm solid at room temperature, where butter is soft at room temperature. Some people use frosting made with Crisco because it is more heat-resistant than buttercream frosting, so it holds up better on warmer days.
Even if you prefer buttercream frosting, Crisco is shelf-stable, so you can make frosting with it instead of running to the store when you run out of butter on your baking day.
Since Crisco and powdered sugar are white, you can get a pure white frosting if you use clear vanilla extract, which is an ideal canvas for decorating cakes and will produce crisp colored icing when you add food coloring.
In the picture above, I made cupcakes from my Vanilla Depression Cake recipe and topped them with Crisco frosting because we were out of butter and milk.
1950s Homemade Formula Recipes Called for Some Shocking Ingredients
In the old days, parenting was quite a bit different than it is now. Everything from delivery to discipline to feeding seems to have changed dramatically over the past few decades. The invention of baby formula revolutionized the way babies were fed and provided much-needed nutrition for babies that didn’t have access to breastmilk for whatever reason. New mothers would be sent home from the hospital with recipes for homemade formula using ingredients most parents today would not approve of.
The Evolution of Formula
In the days before the Industrial Revolution, it was not a given that children would make it to adulthood. Many were lost in their first few years to every kind of illness and accident- which is one reason why there are so many strict guidelines around caring for children today.
For babies whose mothers died in childbirth, early formulas were given when a wet nurse was unavailable- to help the babies survive until they could eat solid food.
The first formulas for babies were invented in the 1800s and were often made with forms of sugars, grains, and either cow’s milk or the newly-invented canned evaporated milk. These early formulas were considered “perfect foods” at the time, presumed to be nutritionally complete despite scant scientific evidence supporting them.
However, use of early formulas was dangerous since sterilization of baby bottles and nipples was not yet commonplace. Germ theory was not widely accepted until well into the 20th century, at which point bottle feeding became less dangerous.
The increase of women working outside the home in the late 1800s also meant that their milk supply was reduced since they fed their babies on a schedule instead of naturally. This led doctors to believe that milk production was becoming evolutionarily unnecessaryand that perhaps the education of girls was hindering their physical development.
Breastfeeding eventually came to be seen as something only uneducated women did and by the middle of the 20th century many healthcare professionals pushed formula as the natural alternative, especially after the long separation of mother and baby in hospital.
The so-called Twilight Sleep births, which heavily drugged the mother for days on end, left mother and baby apart for sometimes a week or more. Many of these mothers were encouraged to use formula.
It wasn’t until the late 1950s that groups like the La Leche League and others sought to promote breastfeeding as the default, and to only use formula when there was no other alternative.
Modern Baby Formulas
Beginning in the 1930s and 1940s more nutritionally dense kinds of powdered formula were sold which were supplemented with nutrients, and they were seen as being safe if used with sterilized equipment and water. Many hospitals and doctors at the time would also write out instructions for making baby formula at home- and those recipes include things we’d never give newborns today.
Regardless of which types of feeding a family chooses for a new baby, most people today would never ever give their infants evaporated milk or Karo syrup. Yet these kinds of recipes are precisely what many mothers were sent home with. Below is one from 1960.
The recipe calls for 13 ounces of evaporated milk, 20 ounces of water, and 2 level teaspoons of Karo syrup to be heated together and divided into 6 bottles. The “special instructions” also say to give the baby water twice a day, to give 2 ounces of tea per day, to give vitamins starting at 10 days old, and to give orange juice diluted with water after only 3 weeks!
Similar recipes were given out in 1952 and another in 1945 (seen below).
Today we know that most babies have a hard time digesting solids, sugars, and other substances until they are around 6 months old (or older). Most modern parents wouldn’t even let their children taste tea until they were well into childhood. However, in the old times it was commonplace to give baby food made with meat to children only a month old and to offer young babies salty, condensed soups. The thinking back then was quite different than it is today.
The dairy checkoff­ was created by American dairy farmers to build trust in and sales of dairy, funded by the nation&rsquos 37,500-plus dairy farm families and those that import dairy into the U.S. See how dairy research and promotion programs work together to provide information and resources on all things dairy, from farm to table.
A non-profit organization dedicated to providing science-based research and education about the nutrition and health benefits.
An industry-led effort to ensure an economically viable and socially responsible U.S. dairy community from farm to table.
The dairy research and promotion program is here for farmers and dairy importers across the nation, supporting programs and innovation so their hard work gets the sales and trust it deserves.
Understanding what “wet” and “dry” drinks are allows you to easily modify your favorite espresso and milk drinks. These terms give you control over how much foam you’d like in your drink.
Asking for a dry drink communicates to the barista that you want extra foam and less liquid. Since the foam is less liquidy than milk, this makes the drink “drier”.
Asking for a wet drink communicates to the barista that you want less foam and more steamed milk.
Here are a few ways you can use these terms:
- A wet cappuccino will have less foam than normal, giving you something closer to a flat white.
- A dry latte will have extra foam, bringing it closer to an upsized cappuccino.
See? Just two easy ways to customize the level of your drink’s foam.
That’s the lowdown on the common espresso and milk drinks in North America. There are dozens more that you’ll run into around the world, but these are our favorites.
If you’re brewing espresso at home, there’s nothing more important than using freshly roasted beans. Since whole beans start going stale in 2-3 weeks (and grounds in 30 minutes), it’s important to buy beans that were just roasted days ago if you want to experience the best flavors your coffee can offer.
Our JavaPresse Coffee Club sends you freshly roasted beans from the world’s best coffee farms. We roast and ship the same day, so you know you’re getting beans when they’re at peak freshness and flavor.
There’s no better way to brew rich, balanced espresso. Check it out !
Milk floats ride to the rescue of locked-down British households
The humble milkman – a regular sight on most British streets throughout the 20th century – was almost consigned to the history books by the rise of the supermarkets.
But now, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, these dairy deliverers on their electric floats are busier than ever as they try to keep up with newfound demand for their services.
Dairies are reporting a boom in customer numbers, with some recruiting hundreds of milkmen and women to help deal with the extra workload as shoppers try to reduce, or forgo, their trips to supermarkets.
Scott Hughes, owner of Jackson’s Dairies in Stockport, which sources all its milk from farmers in the Peak District, said he first noticed an upsurge in orders when the virus hit China in January. Since then, the “phones have not stopped ringing”.
“It was just phenomenal – all of a sudden we were inundated,” said Hughes. “Our doorstep canvasser went out and within 40 minutes he had signed up 30 new customers – this would normally take him days.”
Since the outbreak, Hughes’s firm, which has been delivering milk since the 1950s, has seen an 83% rise in business – signing up more than 800 new customers in two weeks. Another 300 customers are on a waiting list.
“Over the years, we experienced a steady decline and when we looked at it, it was always to do with price because we struggled to compete with supermarket prices,” Hughes said.
Margaret Lees’s farming family, delivering milk since 1958, has seen orders double in recent weeks. Photograph: Christopher Thomond/The Guardian
“But with this virus, and also a growing concern about the environment, we are starting to see a shift in the way people shop.”
He added: “Customers have been ringing 24/7 and it is not just elderly people, there is a complete variety – young people, people with children. We are just hoping when this is all over those customers will stay with us because they will have felt the benefits of having milk delivered to their home.”
Meanwhile, the country’s largest milk and groceries doorstep delivery service, Milk & More, is currently suspending new customer sign-ups, after reporting an increase of 25,000 customers. It has begun a recruitment campaign for 100 milk deliverers.
The firm’s chief executive, Patrick Müller, said: “We have been at the heart of the communities in which we serve for decades, but potentially we have never had such an important role as we do now in this current health crisis.”
Colin Henderson, from Chester-le-Street in Durham, who has been delivering milk for 40 years, said: “The milk has gone berserk.”
Henderson said 60% of his customers were pensioners, and they enjoyed having regular contact with him. He is now wearing plastic gloves when he drops his milk, shakes and juices off on the doorstep.
He added: “I have got a pile of notes from customers and my round is taking an extra hour every day now. The dairy I work with said it is just manic … I just hope that after this is finished that people stay with us.”
Britain’s remaining milk delivery companies have been forced to adapt in recent years, and online orders have replaced rolled-up notes inside used bottles. Many have diversified by adding grocery items to deliveries, from bread, bacon and eggs to toilet roll and even compost.
Trade association Dairy UK said 89% of all milk bought in Britain in 1980 was on the doorstep but many firms closed because of changing consumer habits, and cheaper competition from supermarkets.
In the mid-1990s, just 30% of milk was still delivered, falling to 2.8% in 2015 with many of the customers mainly elderly people.
Growing consumer concern about plastic waste has led to a gentle increase in demand in recent years for doorstep deliveries of the reusable bottles. But the slight upward curve has now become mountainous.
Dr Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, said many of its members had seen huge increases in demand for milk deliveries as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.
“Many have taken on as many new customers as they are able to, and are working round the clock to get milk to as many homes as they can,” she said.
“We know that milkmen and women are providing vital lifelines to older or more vulnerable consumers who are not able to leave their homes due to the restrictions, providing milk and other goods to those who need it, safely.”