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Investing in Food

 
Posts: 7
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Does anyone here invest in food?  If so, has it been a wise investment and where can I find good data of the price inflation of specific foods?

For anyone not familiar, food investing is the investment strategy to pay a cheaper price now for food that you can consume later but that will inflate in cost over time.  Here is an article to explain all about it. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-03-26/invest-food

Thanks,
John
 
Posts: 145
Location: New Zealand
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The savings would be minimal as you still end up purchasing everything you just do it now instead of 6 months down the track. You’re far better to buy seeds and learn to grow your own food.
Save a few seeds each season and that $2 packet gives you infinite food.
I was sheep and cattle farming now I’m a market gardener as I figured people need to eat so my industry is a sure bet for continued growth and I’m getting paid to learn how to be self sufficient regarding food.
 
pollinator
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Location: South Central Indiana
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Hi John,

I read the same article.  Buying in bulk and rotating is a good system.   For myself personally, I have bought freeze dried and long term storage emergency food as well as always having a seed bank in the freezer.  From a savings aspect, inflation is always happening, so anything you can store long term and will still eat is a good idea , maybe a side of beef every now an then also.  I just like to have  a little extra in case something disrupts our fragile/on-demand food system.

After you have some food put back, it might be a good time to consider the next step. Investing in land suitable for agriculture seems like a good way to go.  Most property values rise over time regardless of temporary fluctuations.  And as my grandfather was fond of saying; Land is the one thing they ain't making any more of.  
Plus you can plant foods that you like and raise animals. I haven't bought an egg in years, people tell me they are expensive.
 
Mother Tree
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Some things are much cheaper to buy in bulk.  I don't grow my own wheat, but I do like to use wholemeal organic flour for making bread.  It is almost impossible to find where I live, and is crazy expensive if I do manage to find it.  So I buy a 25kg sack of organic whole grain at bulk prices and grind it in the vitamix as needed.  It keeps much better as whole grain than as flour, so for me this is a good 'investment'.

With things like almonds, I don't really need to buy them now my own trees are coming into production, but I could often find them very cheaply in the market at harvesting time.  They keep for a year or two in their shells, plus I get good, locally adapted seed if I care to plant any.  I find they usually germinate better from the market than from the supermarket, too.  I often buy strawberries, which never grow well for me, when they are at their cheapest and freeze them for use in smoothies and desserts throughout the year.  At the moment I'm freezing down a load of my own prickly pears - an even better investment as they are super easy to grow and to propagate.  I think all of ours came from a few pads we found dumped on the side of the road somewhere.  Actually, it was down a bank and I seem to remember I got the job of climbing down there armed with leather gloves to throw the pads back up to where the car was parked.  Even so, a great investment of time and energy, and some great memories to boot.

Lamb is very expensive to buy here normally, and we no longer raise our own sheep, but at the right time of year it appears in the supermarket at a very very low price if you buy a half or whole lamb at a time.  I consider it an excellent investment!

I also keep an eye on online sellers of short-dated foodstuffs.  I bought a year's supply of powdered coconut milk for about a fifth of its normal retail price. It's still perfectly good and very convenient to use.
 
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We live in a fairly isolated spot in the mountains, and winters can be long sometimes, also, we only go shopping  once a month, so we do buy a few things in bulk but it is usually things that we do not grow ourselves.

Like Burra, I make my own bread and like her I also buy 25 kg bags of wheat (flour gets rancid very quickly).  Wheat, rice, quinoa, oil, salt  and sugar, the last 2 usually to preserve food, are the things we bulk buy.  Almost everything else we grow and preserve and if we do not raise it or grow it ourselves, our neighbours do and we do a fair exchange.  I love nothing better than to go "foraging" in my garden.  If I had to chose between perusing the aisle of the supermarket or the paths in my garden, I give you 3 guesses what I'd rather do.

Having said that, I know that not everyone has the space and/or time to grow their own , and in that case, it might be a good idea to bulk buy food.  I would buy the things I like to eat and not buy something simply because it's on special offer.  I'd watch how long a food would last and how long it would take me to go through all of it before it perishes for instance.
 
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i think the real value of the investment into food is ... when there is none to buy.

yes... food prices go up. but if you factor in the costs and time to build your storage, to buy jars, shelfes, buckets etc. ... plus, if you try to increase shelf-life even more: vaccuum-sealer-bags, mylar-bags, oxygen-absorbers, moisture absorbers etc. ... then the return on investment (ROI) won t be that big.

i think, a big factor is to buy when it s very cheap (coupons, season, sales, factory-sales, bulk etc.) and store until you need it. if your food spoils, then your ROI goes down.

it s important to learn how to conserve and store. and to store only what you eat. and to rotate.


but i think, the prepping for times when there is no food or less food, is a very big factor/value of the ROI in storing food. think about things like inflation, job-loss, economic crisis etc. if that happens, then the real value of the investment into food will become visible.

and: if you learn to cook from scratch with your stored foods, that will normally be much cheaper than to buy prepared foods or to eat-out or to order food. so there is a real saving in actually using your pantry...

EDIT: https://www.backdoorsurvival.com/six-enemies-of-food-storage/ ... maybe this article is helpfull for someone. it has good links to other articles. this site offers a free ebook on food-storage when you subscribe to the newsletter. you can cancel that subscription later. the e-book will cover some basics and might be a good start for beginners.
 
pollinator
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Personally I thought this was going to be some kind of hedge investment scheme based on the URL name .

A farmer gets paid the same price for 55 pounds of wheat that a loaf of fancier types of bread go for - $4 or $5. That's the power that hoarding has in our world today so buying in such a manner currently makes a lot of sense for an individual.

My personal tale with for this type of investing was that I struggled to adjust out of highschool, as it was true what was said about grade school being pretty useless for preparing one for adulthood - meal planning was no exception. As my rent went up, my budget was getting more and more limited and one of the few flexible options was with groceries. I decided to buy 66kg of rice for something like $110 and that's what I ate straight for 2-3 months. Then with those saving I started buying litres of tomato paste. These 2 decisions alone helped me gain an extra $100 a month back then.

Fast forward to today and now people mostly know me for doing such "crazy things" on a regular basis. I have 22 out of 50 pounds of flax to use up that I purchased last year, I got my sugar(and fibre) intake mostly from 100kg of dates this year, as there are not any fruits you can buy in bulk around here. I've quoted some barrels of olive oil for $4/litre with shipping and would like to do some other commodities aswell. Unfortunately I haven't been able to go through with the latter because you really need a group-buy for that, and many people are overwhelmed at the thought of having 6 gallons of olive oil to use and store.

---

For freezers. I only put fresh fruit, diced vegetables and a few cuts of beef in there, otherwise anything else just doesn't have enough value to be put in the freezer. I see plenty of people with 10kg bags of flour sitting next to 4 loaves of bread in their freezes, which are taking up as much space as $60 worth of veggies would.
 
John Nelson
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Thank you,

I conclude that the wisdom of the Permies Collective is to:  1) Invest in one's own growing, harvesting, and storing skills. 2)  Buy in bulk the consumables that are used most often but have the best shelf life.  But to look for special deals when doing this.  
 
pollinator
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Location: Southern Oregon
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So interesting, when I first saw the name of the thread I thought it wouldn't concern me, like it was just stock market investing in food stuffs vs. non-food stuffs. I don't invest in anything in financial markets.

I like food stuffs because they have actual value, not just financial value, e.g. even if the commercial wheat market collapses, I can still plant wheat seed and get food. Sounds good to me.
 
Tobias Ber
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another thought is to invest in "means of production". in our society the home/house is a place of consumption... in times before it was (more or less) a place of production. see homesteading.

so what about investing in "capital" to produce stuff and/or to enhance the value of products?

like... grain mill, smoker, canning equipment, fermenting equipment, wine-making or distilling.equipment, solar stuff, food dehydrator, sprouting vessels, fermenting vessels, sewing machine, woodworking tools, tools in general etc.

this plus skills might save you a real lot. may give you products to barter, as gifts (so you save money) or to sell.

it s sidetracking the thread a bit, but much is food- and food-storage-related.
 
pollinator
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With any investment a person has to really watch for what is not said, almost as much as what is said. In this case they left out a lot.

For instance they factored in the cost of the freezer, but they never mentioned its electrical consumption. In North Dakota where it is cheap, it is one thing, but in Maine where electricity is high, it is another. The fickle nature of electrical costs is probably why they left it out, BUT it is a huge factor.  Here it costs me about $18 a month to run my freezer, so I have to save that much money in food costs to justify its existence. For my family of (6) that is pretty easy. However my cattle dealer, he said he has (4) chest freezers for all his meat and it is just him and his wife. He is paying almost $100 a month just to store his frozen meat. From a financial view he would be better off to buy it from the store or become a vegetarian!

I advocate saving food for food security reasons, but not necessarily an investment. We have a years supply of food saved up here, but are not preppers or dooms day people, it is just good to have food just in case. Most of that is in the form of cans or canning jars so the cost of storage is free. Being a sheep farm, our meat is live on the hoof, and while I prefer to take it to a butcher, I have and can slaughter my own animals.

Another way is to find free food. It is EVERYWHERE! This is a topic onto its own, but it is the truth. If a person has an adventurous palette it is easier, for instance I once got packages of cows tongue, a meat I love, but few others do. And my Grandmother, living with a widowed mother with 5 daughters subsided during the depression by living on given food baked in wondrous ways. You have never lived unless you have heart sheep's heart braised in milk!

Still another way is to utilize coupons, coupons, coupons (or online redeem sources). You are buying food without really buying it.

The point of these two examples is, and there are many more, is that the best way to save money is to not spend money in the first place. It is like my wife coming back from a shopping trip and saying she saved $40 by buying a pair of shoes on sale. Of course she would have saved even more by not buying them at all!

The investment strategy given in the article has a fatal flaw, it means spending money, storing it, then reaping the benefits in the long term. That means it is a monetary gain by profit margin. A person spends $4 on food, they store it, then a year later it is worth $6, thus saving the person $2. That works, but it is narrow thin margins, and assumes there is little loss, and little cost for storage...a BIG assumption. I advocate not spending money in the first place on food, because that is a 100% profit margin.

Of course if a person took this money saved, and thus invested it in the commodities market they would even do better.
 
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