Our kitchen inventory is complete.
Even before I began a proper analysis, I noticed some interesting patterns. First of all, the ratio of packaged to fresh foods is very high. Granted, this is a snapshot of a particular moment when our food budget is very low, but the difference is still dramatic. Secondly, I noticed a few zip codes cropping up quite frequently. Chicago, Minneapolis, and New Jersey were prominent; most of our spices in particular seem to have come from the latter place. Who knew?
Of course, zip codes are merely starting points, usually corporate headquarters or regional distribution centers. I’m going to need to dig a bit deeper in order to track the footprints of this food. I noticed that quite a few items come from overseas and are re-branded with another company name; other brands are under the umbrella of a larger firm, like ConAgra. The high percentage of Chicago zip codes stems from the shopping we’ve been doing at WinCo, an employee-owned regional chain. This presents an interesting dilemma, which I will explore as the year proceeds: the tension between supporting a locally-owned business which sells goods shipped from far away or a non-local business which sells locally-sourced goods. Or a non-locally-owned business, selling goods from far away, but which still employs people from one’s own community. Or, the reductio version, providing for oneself and not buying from others, though I doubt we’ll reach that level.