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The avocado economy economy global prices Paleo Network 2-min

The avocado economy

It’s no secret that avocados are one of the best paleo foods you can get. Full of fat, the foundation of an amazing dessert recipe and with loads of alternative uses, you just can’t beat an avocado.

The frustrating thing is how expensive they are. They literally grown on trees, after all.
The avocado economy economy global prices Paleo Network-min

Exactly how expensive?

Given that we’ve just come out of summer here in Australia, we grow them here, surely they should be cheap about now? In the Northern Hemisphere, they’ve presumably been imported, so you’d expect them to be at their most expensive about now?

So I compared prices of avocados available today, in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada and South Africa. Obviously prices will vary wildly in each country, but this should give an indication. You can save buying in bulk, but for the purposes of comparison, I took the single price. I converted currencies into Australian dollars at today’s exchange rate, which could wildly fluctuate by the time you read this.

What did I find?

South Africa was by far the cheapest, working out at under $1 (Australian dollar) – hardly surprising given that they grow their own and have just come out of summer too.

Moving over to the Northern Hemisphere, Canada and the US are similarly priced, at $2.36 and $2.22 each. Surprisingly the UK is even cheaper at under $2 each. Though disclaimer – I’ve yet to have a good avocado there.

So where does that put Australia? Yes, you maybe guessed it – the most expensive avocado I found at almost $3 each. Three times the cost in South Africa.

I would love to understand why they are so expensive here, I fear the answer is as simple as “because they’re prepared to pay it”. When I can buy a 1 kilo bag of carrots for $1, I can’t see why avocados are so much more expensive. If you’ve got any thoughts or insight, I’d love to hear it in the comments.

Well, until prices come down, or I manage to grow an avocado tree in my garden, it’s going to be carrots for dinner.

Can you eat paleo healthily on a budget finances-min

Can you eat healthily on a budget?

I wrote the other day about my $50 weekly food budget – and how hyper aware I’ve become about how much food costs.  I’m only shopping for one, I work from home, love cooking and have time to shop around. How hard must if be for families on tight budgets to eat well?

Can you eat paleo healthily on a budget finances-min

I really struck me how difficult it must be for families when I saw this in my local Aldi store:

Aldi-cheap-pizza-paleo-network-food
That’s just $3 for a big pizza. Assuming you’d need two to feed a family of four that’s $1.50 per person for dinner. Preparation time is zero and cooking time less than 20 minutes.

Contrast this with a healthy paleo meal? Let’s say a large free range chicken: $12, some steamed kale $5 and spinach $3 and some $4 cauliflower made into rice. That’s $24 – so $6 a head. For families living on tight budgets there’s a huge difference between spending $6 on dinner and spending $24.

And how about lunch? You can buy an entire loaf of bread for about 85 cents and some cheap processed meat for about $3. That’s a cheap lunch, well under a dollar a head. Contrast that with a typical paleo lunch – that wouldn’t even cover a decent cut of meat, never mind salad or veggies.

As for breakfast I doubt anyone could make an free-range egg and veggie omelette for less than the $2.2o an entire box of cornflakes costs.

So what’s the answer?

Wouldn’t it be good if fresh whole food could be subsidised? Unfortunately I can’t see how that could ever be implemented, since everyone has such wildly different ideas about exactly what is healthy and what isn’t.

Do you think families struggling to make ends meet are priced out of eating healthily? What do you think the answer is?

My $50 paleo budget challenge

My $50 weekly paleo budget challenge

When I returned from my trip overseas, I went to my local Coles grocery store to get a few essentials to keep me going. I came out with one bag and $52 worse off. All I bought was a few veggies and some meat.

Now I’m working for myself (more on this soon) something has to change! It’s important to me to continue eating well, but I’ve got to cut my food costs. I’ve therefore spent the last few weeks doing a $50 weekly food challenge. Where I live in Australia, this is quite a challenge. Food is expensive here. Before I started this challenge I’m ashamed to say I had no idea how much different vegetables and cuts of meat cost.

My $50 paleo budget challenge

It’s not been easy, but I’ve managed to stick $50 a week – and I’ve kept it paleo. Here’s what I’ve been doing:

Shopping around

I’m lucky to live near an independent greengrocers, a butcher, an Aldi and a Coles supermarket. When I worked in the corporate world I would do almost all of my shopping in Coles because it was quick and easy. Now I incorporate all three in my daily morning walk, so I can check out the prices and see what’s in season and on special offer. As I walk, I don’t buy much each time I go and I make sure I’m always getting the best price. It’s amazed me how much prices differ for the exact same vegetables – perhaps even from the same farm! For example I can get a whole cauliflower for $2 from the greengrocer. Or spend $3.98 on a cauliflower at Coles.

Look for specials

I’ve noticed every few days there are different specials in my local Coles. This week for example, Broccoli is on sale for $1.oo a kilo (2.2 pounds). It would normally be about $3 a kilo – so this is incredibly cheap. I therefore have a fridge full of broccoli at the moment – and am on the look out for broccoli recipes to use it all in! I always keep my meal plans flexible enough to take advantage of good deals like this.

Broccoli-50-dollar-paleo-diet-budget-challenge

Buy reduced to clear

I’ve also noticed everywhere I shop has reduced produce every day. I’ve got some great deals on packets of vegetables on their “use by” date and significant reductions on meat too.  I cook fresh everyday, so it makes no difference whatsoever if it’s close to the use by date.

Buy different cuts of meat

I used to buy (what I now realise are) premium cuts of meat and poultry. I’d spend $10 buying two chicken breasts – I now buy a whole chicken for about the same. Not only do I get two chicken breasts, but I get the rest of the bird – and a couple of extra meals out of it for free. It’s so easy to roast a chicken.

Buy nutrient dense

With $50 to spend I don’t bother buying things like lettuce, which I don’t consider very nutrient dense or filling. Instead I’d rather buy veggies like kale and spinach that give far more nutrients per cent.

Buy seasonal

I used to buy avocados all the time. I didn’t really look at the price. They’re $2.98 EACH! I don’t buy avocados at the moment. As soon as they are in season and the prices become more sensible, I’ll add them back into my diet.

Avocado-expensive-50-dollar-paleo-diet-budget-challenge

Try a different way

I’ve also started doing a few things differently. Instead of buying expensive dark chocolate, I buy a few grapes when they’re on special and freeze them (if you’ve not tried frozen grapes – do this!). Instead of using coconut oil to roast veggies in or cook a stir fry with, I use the fat I get from the meat I cook.

Don’t compromise

I’d save so much money if I bought barn eggs and cheap ground mince meat. But there are some things I won’t compromise on – I won’t buy ground meat or non free-range chicken or eggs. I’d love to buy all of my vegetables organic, but I just couldn’t do that for under $50 a week unfortunately.

Stretch everything

Everything I buy, I try to stretch as far as I can. The chicken I roast will do several meals, then the bones will make a stock. I add yesterdays stir fry leftovers to some eggs to make a frittata for breakfast. I make my extra veggies into a soup and freeze it in batches for later.

I’d love to hear any tips you have for getting more out of my $50 weekly food budget. How much do you spend on food each week? I’d love to hear your views in the comments below.