The Real Cost Of Your Shopping

There is a vast array of cost when you do your grocery shopping. The first one that comes to mind; for most people is the cost of their groceries. But there are others. Consider the cost of producing all those groceries on offer and getting them to market and your cost getting them home. Then there is the environmental impact. What does it take to manufacture all the grocery carriers, promotional bags?

We all think groceries to be expensive but the cost is generally relative to economic times. However, when you look at all the other associated costs it makes you wonder if groceries are really that expensive after all.

The cost that intrigued me most was the supply chains for getting simple things like grocery carries, such as bags, trolleys and baskets to market. Then there is all the promotional cost. In-store advising, television advertisements, and so on.

However, it does not finish there. You drive home with your groceries, refrigerate them or freeze them, use gas or electricity to cook and use lights and extractors while you cook a meal. Even then, the costs are not over. You use water heated with electricity or gas for your dishwasher and the detergents for cleaning up. 

It is hard to accurately determine the true cost of the life cycle of the food we eat however, one additional cost is perhaps even more difficult to comprehend and put a value on, and that is the environmental impact sitting right there in your various grocery carriers and on the promotional bags.

There has been a lot of research carried out and empirical data resulting from that research. Even so, it is still debatable what impact our grocery supply chain has on our environment. Take plastics versus paper. The process of manufacturing plastic, paper and cardboard, having glass and plastic bottles produced for packaging, bags and other types of containers, which service the grocery supply chain to wholesalers then into, retail outlets, all have an impact on the environment. Then there is one last cost to consider. Your waste disposal has to be collected, landfill has to be managed, and where possible and economical, recycling has to be carried out. This is another impact on the environment and the costs may be slowly increasing as climate changes.

Now it is fair to say that the climate is changing, but to what extent has human, activity impacted on the natural cycle of change remains debateable. What is interesting is looking at how climate change might affect the cost of food in the future. There may be a situation where we cannot grow as much or fewer places where we can grow food. This may mean increased artificial production or additional processing of what we do have available.

Even if we move toward alternatives to generating electricity from the consumption of fossil fuels to some other source of energy, the cost of energy is not going to decrease. In fact, the alternatives are more expensive.

So next time you go grocery-shopping, pause when you look at the paper checkout slip and think about all of the costs a long the way. Given what you just paid the real cost of what is in your grocery carrier might not seem so expensive after all.