Navigating the uncertainties of food shortages in 2024 demands a strategic approach, whether you find yourself in a city apartment, suburban home, or tending to a homestead. The warning signals about certain foods being in short supply have already sounded, prompting a ripple effect on costs.
As the inputs for production become pricier, so do the end products.
Factor in ongoing bloody conflicts in Europe and the Middle East, the destruction of key infrastructure, rampant inflation, the cost of living crisis that is making life difficult for most, the amplifying impact of climactic challenges like droughts and storms, and the trajectory of food prices becomes even more precarious.
In this article, we'll explore the factors at play and equip you with actionable insights to safeguard your food security amidst these complexities.
Keep reading to find 10 foods that will be in short demand and/or whose price is expected to rise.
According to the USDA Food prices are expected to continue to decelerate but not decline in 2024. In 2024, all food prices are predicted to increase by 2.1 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 USDA Economic Research Service Outlook publications including Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry, Oil Crops, Wheat, Fruit and Tree Nuts, and Vegetables and Pulses.
See the Overview page for Consumer Price Index and Producer Price Index datasets.
Foods That Will Be In Short Supply in 2024
As we look ahead to 2024, it's crucial to be aware of the exact foods that might become scarce, leading to higher prices. The cost increase isn't just about more people wanting these foods – it's also connected to the rising expenses of making them.
When oil prices surge, so does the cost of food, for example.
Among these items, the uptick in demand can further be attributed to the spiraling costs of other food commodities. It's noteworthy that several of these items represent vital and nutritious staples.
This should serve as a gentle reminder to start thinking and planning (without panicking) to prepare for potential challenges down the road.
Wheat & Flour
In the world of kitchen basics, wheat and flour are facing a tough time with the war in Ukraine, global famines, and harsh droughts. Brace yourself for a probable hike in prices, considering that the average cost of flour has already shot up by 28%.
Another kitchen staple, rice, is grappling with challenges from droughts, floods, and extreme weather. The increased demand for rice, partly due to the demand for wheat, is pushing prices higher. Adding to the complexity, India's export ban is playing its part in the rise.
As avian flu concerns persist, the global egg production landscape remains under constant threat. Avian flu, a contagious viral disease affecting birds, has the potential to disrupt poultry farms, impacting both the supply and the pricing of eggs. The resilience of the egg industry faces a dual challenge — not only is the direct production of eggs at risk, but the perceived threat can also trigger changes in consumer behavior, leading to fluctuations in demand.
Avian flu remains a persistent threat to global egg production, affecting both supply and pricing. The close connection between laying hens and chickens raised for meat means that diseases like avian flu can simultaneously disrupt egg and chicken meat production. This interdependence underscores the delicate balance in the poultry industry, where the health of birds directly impacts the availability and cost of essential protein sources, including eggs and chicken meat.
Cooking Oils, Seed Oils, & Olive Oil
We don't eat seed oils and prefer pastured lard, tallow, ghee, and other real fats. But we do love good quality olive oil, which is threatened with severe weather in Italy, leading to reduced production.
And if you use vegetable (soy), canola, or corn oils, be prepared for continued price hikes. Blame it on poor harvests from severe weather and supply chain issues brought on by the pandemic and war in Ukraine.
Dairy farms shutting down across America are paving the way for more frequent dairy shortages.
The shortage of tomatoes is set to impact products made with them, such as sauces and canned tomato products, potentially causing price hikes.
Rising feed costs and water scarcity are putting pressure on beef prices. As farmers liquidate and exit ranching, the influx of beef into the market may lead to price fluctuations. Keep an eye out, and if you notice beef prices dropping, it might be a cue to invest in a chest freezer and stock up. Prices won't stay down for long.
The increasing cost and scarcity of aluminum are making canned goods more expensive. If your pantry relies on cans, take note. Canned tuna and other sources of quality protein are likely to see price increases.
Rising costs of ingredients and packaging are also impacting pet foods.
Fruit will continue to rise in price. Certain crops like oranges, mangoes, and bananas might be most affected.
Okay, so what do you do about this?
- Foods That Will Be In Short Supply in 2024
- Food Shortages in 2024
- (Budget) Where Is Your Money Going?
- Buy Two Of Everything
- Build An Emergency Food Supply
- Learn How To Cook
- Before You Buy Something New
- Buy A Chest Freezer
- Stock Up On Medical Supplies
- Grow Your Own Food
- Extend Your Growing Season
- Preserve Your Food
- Bake Sourdough Bread
- Bulk Ingredients
- Do Not Cheap Out on Nutrition
- Eat Nose-To-Tail
- Preserve Eggs
- Long Term Storage
- Cull your Livestock
- Find Free Meat Online
- Buy Whole Animals & Primals
- Use The Food Bank
- Homesteading Starts With You
- Buy Local
- Can You Raise Livestock?
- Fishing, Hunting, & Foraging
- Final Thought & Cultivating An Attitude of Hope & Giving Back
- More On The Blog
- Latest Posts
- 💬 Comments
Food Shortages in 2024
The past few years have been tumultuous, to say the least.
The food shortages and global uncertainty that emerged in 2020 are persisting and likely extending into 2024 and beyond.
Governments resorted to unprecedented levels of money printing during the pandemic. We saw a breakdown in the supply chain and a scarcity of common goods. The increased costs of energy and food have become a burden on all of us, while real estate prices have rendered home ownership an elusive dream for many.
This reality isn't poised to improve anytime soon. You can't vote harder to get yourself out of this. It's time to recognize that no one is coming to save you, and succumbing to despair is not a practical solution either.
Instead of wringing your hands, here are practical and actionable ways to prepare for and navigate the food shortages and rising grocery costs of 2024 and beyond.
Understand that not all tips may apply to everyone, and that's okay. Some suggestions are straightforward, while others may pose challenges.
But even for those facing financial difficulties, there are viable strategies.
I grew up in poverty. My mother grew up in the ravaged post-WWII landscape which was Yugoslavia. I grew up with insecurity.
You are not alone, even it feels like you are.
There are so many people who feel the same way you do, who are worried about food shortages and the rising costs of just living.
The internet is full of your people and anonymity makes things easier in many ways.
With a community you can pool your resources and knowledge to help each other out.
Don't have a car to shop for cheaper groceries or bulk ones? Can't reach local farms for those cheap eggs?
Why not post in local groups and split gas with other like minded people?
Want to buy a whole or half cow but have no one to split it with?
The answer is finding your community.
(Budget) Where Is Your Money Going?
Even if you have a budget (but especially if you don’t or never have) try this exercise for one month: write down every single penny you spend and where you spend it.
Include everything: bills, subscriptions, gas, mortgage or rent, groceries, fun money, a packet of gum, etc. — everything.
Financial literacy did not come easy to me. And for many of us who grew up poor, we learned a lot of bad habits. I read somewhere to try this simple exercise and at the end of the month I was amazed at all the places my money was going to.
I’ve come a long way since then, but this was my first step towards learning how to budget. And it’s one everyone can take.
Understand exactly where your money is going so that you can understand exactly where to make cuts and where to place your priorities.
Buy Two Of Everything
Don't panic buy. Just buy two of everything.
One goes in the pantry, one goes into storage for emergencies or food shortages.
When a sale is on, buy as much as you can.
Build An Emergency Food Supply
The days of mocking preppers are done.
Having an emergency stockpile of food and supplies just makes sense.
Build yourself a month's worth (at least) of shelf stable foods on top of anything you may have in the freezer and refrigerator.
A pressure canner (which is how you can safely can meat at home) is a great tool to invest in for this and we're getting one this year.
You can also buy entire kits just for this purpose.
These are the best non-perishable food items to stock:
- White rice
- Dried pastas
- Rice noodles
- Chickpea noodles
- Dried beans
- Canned meats
- Canned fish
- Canned vegetables
- Canned fruits
- Canned soups
- Fresh eggs (preserved in hydrated lime water)
- Dried fruit
- Jerky and pemmican
- Coconut oil
- Granola bars
- Nut butter
Learn How To Cook
I don’t mean “learn how to follow a recipe” because everyone can do that.
Can you look at the contents of your fridge and make a meal?
Can you make ground beef stretch? Make common foods more nutritious?
Can you cook the cheap cuts of meat and turn them into something delicious? Like in my liver dumpling soup which makes use of nutrient-dense liver and stale sourdough bread?
Can you take a chicken, break it down, and make several meals from it utilizing every part of the bird?
Can you turn an old rooster or laying hen into delicious coq au vin?
Can you ferment vegetables and extend their shelf-life while making them more nutritious?
Anyone can understand and follow a recipe. Cooking is often about understanding ingredients and how they work together, it’s about creating a recipe from the ingredients you have and can afford.
Before You Buy Something New
See if it's available online used first. Or in your local thrift and used good stores.
We rarely buy new anymore and even rarer still at full price.
Buy A Chest Freezer
In our old condo we had a small chest freezer tucked away that was always loaded with bulk meat purchases, trout from our fishing trips, and freezer meals.
Stock Up On Medical Supplies
If you can get pain killers and antibiotics — do it. Make a small emergency kit and stow it safely away from children and pets.
Don't forget sanitizing sprays, bandages, and a good book on emergency first aid (would love your recommendations as we don't have one yet).
We got an emergency antibiotic kit from Jase Medical which supplies you with 5 common antibiotics along with an instruction booklet on how to use them.
Completely legal and available in Canada and the USA.
My coupon code PEASANT10 get's you $10 off your order.
Grow Your Own Food
Plan a survival garden.
In our condo I grew food in my community garden, the balcony, and indoors under grow lights.
Now I have 3 acres and we're building a huge raised bed annual garden this year (finally) to grow as many vegetables and fruits as possible.
I'm not at the level yet, but I am experimenting with growing enough food for a year to feed the whole family. I won't meet that goal this year, but I love the thought experiment of what it would take to do so.
If your local community garden is full, look into government programs that help you establish your own.
Once again leveraging the power of your own community can help you! Find others who want to do the same and brainstorm ideas.
You'll be amazed at how much you can grow in a small space. My balcony kept us in tomatoes and various lettuces, mustards, and herbs all summer. And I wasn't even trying to truly maximize the space.
You can grow indoors year-round — but you need grow lights.
I have the Click & Grow Smart Garden which is self watering and uses soil pods. Even if I just grow herbs for cooking I'll consider it a win as herbs are some of the most expensive things at the store. But it also lets me grow things like tomatoes, kale, lettuce, etc. In the spring i can use it to start seeds.
In the condo I started with a huge metal growing rack from Costco and grow lights but I much prefer this new way.
Extend Your Growing Season
If you have a garden but only use it to grow food in the spring and summer, why not look into techniques that let you extend your growing season even further?
Preserve Your Food
Even if you don' grow your own food — you can still learn water bath canning, pressure canning, fermenting, dehydrating, freeze drying, etc.
In the summer when the farmer's markets are full of cheaper seasonal produce you can buy as much as possible and then just preserve the foods yourself.
Bake Sourdough Bread
You will save a lot of money and increase the nutritional quality of your bread by learning to bake your own — especially if it’s sourdough bread.
Sourdough is vastly superior to yeasted breads as it’s a fermented food that makes grains easier to digest and more nutritious.
Sourdough is not intimidating or time consuming unless you make it so.
Bulk ingredients, properly stored can save you tons of money.
We mill our own grains (Komo Fidibus Medium is an incredible mill) that we purchased locally from an organic farm — hard wheat, soft wheat, spelt, einkorn, corn, kamut, rye, buckwheat.
Even with the upfront purchase of an expensive mill (that will last a lifetime) and grains with food grade buckets and mylar bags — we calculated the costs and savings and it all pays for itself within the first year.
Do Not Cheap Out on Nutrition
One modern trend I have seen on YouTube that I absolutely loathe is watching people attempt to eat as cheaply as possible in a day.
This results in them eating hyper processed convenience foods that are full of calories but offer little to nothing in the way of nutrition.
It is absolutely possible to be obese and to overeat while being malnourished.
When you’re making choices over what to buy — choose nutrient dense foods.
For example, red meat like beef might cost more but it offers way more for you than chicken.
And whole chicken is way better (and cheaper) than boneless, skinless chicken breast.
Which brings me to a crucial point.
Don't sacrifice your health any more than necessary.
Kale isn’t a superfood. Neither is the berry shipped from thousands of miles away.
You know what is? Liver. Bone marrow. Eggs.
Maybe you can't afford a whole grassfed cow to put in a chest freezer, and you can't afford that chest freezer right now either, but you can buy those packs of chicken hearts, gizzards, and livers that are in every grocery store and learn how to cook them.
I grew up eating that multiple times in the week. It was cheap and nourishing food. Add some potatoes on the side and it's a filling meal.
Try making my recipe for liver dumpling soup if you're nervous or do not like the taste of liver.
When my eggs preserved in butter reel went viral I had numerous comments to the tune of "yOu CaN jUst bUy eGgS iN tHe gRoCerY sToRe!"
And then came the current 2024 egg shortages and drastic increases in prices.
Who is laughing now? Not me. Because it's not funny.
Preserve some darn eggs, it's easy.
You can get a 5 gallon bucket and water glass eggs that will remain fresh up to two years. You can do this in a condo and preserve hundreds of eggs if you want.
Get onto your Facebook chicken groups and find a local farm that sells fresh, unwashed eggs. Buy as many as possible and waterglass them.
Eggs are at peak nutritional quality in the spring and summer months from pastured hens allowed to free range on grass.
The butter technique (see the video I made below, it's a quick one) is a fun historical thing to demonstrate, but homesteaders preserve eggs in hydrated lime for safer and more long-term storage.
Long Term Storage
Food grade plastic buckets and mylar bags with oxygen absorbers can store some items (like wheat) for up to 25 years or more.
Buy what you can afford and store it for peace of mind.
It's not like it's getting cheaper even if food shortages aren't coming.
We have the Komo Fidibus Medium grain mill and process our grains.
We're also growing flour corn in raised beds this year and making flour and masa harina out of it.
Cull your Livestock
We free range our chickens, ducks, and geese.
It cuts down on feeding costs dramatically.
Come fall, we cull (slaughter) all but a chosen scaled down flock of poultry to void high feed costs that occur in the winter.
This year I'm preserving enough eggs to last us all winter until the hens start laying abundantly again.
Find Free Meat Online
My online chicken groups are full of irresponsible suburban backyard flock keepers who won't properly handle their excess roosters.
I regularly read posts from people begging others to take their pet roosters and give them homes — pet homes only.
In my province rooster rescues are a literal thing.
I could go off on this, but I'll stick to the topic at hand: that is FREE or super cheap meat for YOU that is high quality.
You can spend a day gathering free roosters and then either slaughter them yourself or take them to a processor that will do it for you.
Buy Whole Animals & Primals
A whole cow, pig, or lamb costs significantly less than its parts individually purchased at a butcher shop.
If you have a chest freezer you can fit a lot into it and buying whole animals will save you significant money, especially if you want grassfed/pastured meat.
You can also buy primal cuts and do the butchering yourself.
Last fall we butchered our Icelandic lambs ourselves for the first time.
It was easy.
Guys, we live in remarkable times when we can learn how to do so much by simply watching a YouTube video of it.
And while you (probably) can't butcher a cow in your tiny condo — you can do so with a lamb or pig.
If i can do it, why can't you?
Use The Food Bank
If you need it — use the food bank.
Use whatever other social assistance programs are available to you.
You've paid taxes all your life for just this moment when you actually need to make use of these programs. And the government will waste it anyways, so you may as well take some back.
There is no shame in it. There is never shame in needing help.
Homesteading Starts With You
Homesteading starts with you, not with land.
I drive down roads where people on vast rural properties choose to do literally nothing with the vast wealth they have. They mow their lawns, fertilize and weed them with unnecessary poisons, and then call it a day.
My mother thought everyone in this country was so wealthy to have so much land but grow no food on it.
She wondered where the chickens and goats were.
And you — you may bee an apartment rolling your eyes at me. But I don't care. Because I started in an apartment myself, I started from nothing, so I know exactly what is possible.
Pick one thing and start. Maybe decide that you will learn something new each month.
This month that might be making a homemade sourdough starter and beginning the (fascinating) journey to master sourdough bread.
Next month it may be fermenting food or canning.
It only sounds overwhelming and intimidating because it's new to you.
Like anything else, once it becomes a part of your routine, it becomes second nature.
Today the thought of fermenting beets or making raw milk kefir or even traditional soured milk seems like something totally alien. Tomorrow you're making your own homemade cheese and have a freezer full of meat you butchered yourself.
I think you might be amazed if you realized all that may be around you and nearby.
We have an organic market garden close by that is pay what you can.
And it's all on the honor system. Can you imagine?
The work and generosity these people put into their land only to offer it away to the community like this.
And this is a huge market garden that grows vegetables and raises meat.
Do you have something like that close by? Have you asked?
Moving out into the country my eyes were opened to the possibilities.
Can You Raise Livestock?
If you can legally (or even just uh get away with it and have cool neighbors) you can easily raise chickens and ducks in the smallest of backyards.
With a larger space you can add geese, an animal that prefers pasture and will only need grass for 90% of its diet. And miniature goats, pigs, and sheep aren't that hard either.
Check out my The Ultimate Guide to Homestead & Backyard Chicken Keeping article which links to all of my chicken articles.
And what about guinea fowl? Amazing tick control, exceptional foraging capabilities, and a source of meat and eggs to boot.
We raise Icelandic sheep on only 1 acre of pasture. They get hay in the winter but in 2022 they didn't need any additional hay for 6 months.
Fishing, Hunting, & Foraging
I'm not even going to pretend these are easy or cheap to get into.
Foraging and fishing are likely the most accessible from the list depending on where you live.
It took me years from getting my hunting and gun licenses to go on my first hunt (I successfully shot a massive turkey too!) but the patience and preparation paid off.
I started fishing the way many women do — with a former boyfriend who taught me how. I loved it. Today my husband and I fish for trout each summer (check out my smoked trout recipe) and fill the freezer with incredible trophy fish.
Final Thought & Cultivating An Attitude of Hope & Giving Back
We've lost something of our humanity in the last few years.
I can feel it and see it within myself, this encroaching cynicism. But I refuse to give in and I refuse to give up.
How sickening and privileged to even consider it?
How weak is my own moral character that I can give in to despair when I have beauty and possibility all around me — like in my two sons who are the future. And what future am I giving them if I remain apathetic and unmoved?
No. I won't do that. I will fight that creeping degeneracy.
This year in 2024 as I look into how to combat food shortages, I'm also looking for ways to give back. Back to my community and to people who need help.
I ask that you consider doing the same. When we give, we get back things we never expected and we may touch someone in a way we never even anticipated.
The world is full of pain, let's choose to go forward in grace and love instead.
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