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At Missouri Food Bonus we are revisiting a concept that is as old as human history. It’s the absolute necessity of wasting nothing when it comes to survival. In today’s modern life it is easy to overlook these fundamentals when it comes to food because it can be easily available. But are you getting the most out of the food you buy? Let’s explore how can you find the bonus in the food you already have.

Why Missouri? Here in the demographic middle of America there are hundreds of thousands of households that are food insecure, even with the abundance of food available all around them. These concepts can apply to any household, anywhere.

“In 2012, 49 million people lived in food-insecure households in the United States (Coleman-Jensen et al., 2013)
out of a total population of over 305 million. Food insecurity is when the food intake of one or more household
members is reduced and eating patterns are disrupted at times during the year because the household lacks
money and other resources for food. Food-insecure households accounted for 14.5 percent of U.S. households:
9.2 percent had low food security and 5.7 percent had very low food security (see figure).” (Buzby et al. 2014, pg 3)

Food insecurity has many causes. The bottom line is that it hurts families and it hurts children. According to the USDA, 30-40% of food is wasted in the United States. Much of this occurs before food reaches your household, but a significant amount happens when we buy food that we don’t use and end up throwing it out. If every household that is concerned about food security practiced good management techniques they could extend the amount of food that is available.

Saving money on your family’s food budget is all about careful planning, careful shopping, and purposefully using up every bit of food–thus finding the bonus in the food you already buy. If careful use of your food supply allows you to make a couple of “free” meals each week, that can add up to a significant savings. This can enable you to afford more basics for your pantry for times when food is not accessible.

In uncertain times having a well-stocked pantry of basic shelf-stable foods can keep a household fed during an emergency, such as a pandemic, job loss, blizzards, ice storms, hurricanes, or other disaster. And it seems that #PandemicCooking is the new national pastime!