Americans Face a 71% Increase in Grocery Expenses Compared to Last Year.
June 28, 2023: New research reveals that the average American can expect to spend over two-thirds (71%) more on their weekly groceries than last year, even if they try to be frugal.
Nutrition experts from Total Shape analyzed the latest food plans released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and compared them to actual spending data from last year reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The findings show that even the most budget-friendly plan represents a significant increase from last year’s expenses.
The USDA recommends a monthly spend of $271 for adults aged 20-50 in a four-person household, equivalent to $3,252 per year. However, single individuals must add 20% to their grocery budget, raising the monthly cost to $325, or $3,902 annually.
While this may seem straightforward, it actually translates to a substantial 71% increase from the average American’s grocery spending of $2,280 last year, according to the BLS. Those following the liberal food plan face even higher grocery bills, with an expected monthly expenditure of $426, or $511 for individuals living alone.
It is important to note that these food plans are based on consumption and price data from 2013-2016, updated to current dollars using the Consumer Price Index for specific food items. As a result, they may need to accurately reflect the current cost of living, especially considering the 4% increase in food prices in May. This disparity makes it difficult for typical Americans to prioritize healthy eating habits, as revealed by a recent Cleveland Clinic survey, which found that 46% of respondents cited the cost of food as the main obstacle to maintaining a healthy diet.
Comparing the cost of fast food to cooking at home, the average fast food combo meal in America costs $9.55, while purchasing the ingredients to make the same meal at home amounts to around $22. The higher price at home is due to the typical portion sizes of products in supermarkets, which often require buying more than necessary for a single meal.
However, variations vary across states, depending on average salaries and local grocery prices. For example, states like Iowa, Montana, and Hawaii must allocate more salary for grocery expenses. At the same time, residents of Minnesota find it more challenging to justify buying groceries over opting for takeout, as a combo meal is cheaper than groceries.
In response to these findings, a spokesperson from Total Shape emphasized the importance of planning to make healthy eating decisions more manageable. They provided several actionable tips for reducing grocery costs and making cooking at home more affordable:
- Take inventory of what you already have at home and create a list of potential meals using those ingredients to avoid unnecessary purchases.
- Keep an eye out for coupons and promotions, and consider switching to online grocery shopping to stick to your list and prevent impulse purchases.
- Batch-cooking meals can save money by buying more significant portions and freezing the extra meals for later, making healthy eating more convenient throughout the week.
By following these strategies, consumers can alleviate the financial burden of grocery shopping, especially for single-person households with limited budgets. The spokesperson emphasized that even cooking at home a few times a week can be more affordable and beneficial for long-term health than relying on fast food daily.