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Visualizing Real Inflation – A Decade Of Grocery Prices For 30 Common Items

Over the span of 2000-2016, the amount of money spent on food by the average American household increased from $5,158 to $7,203, which is a 39.6% increase in spending.

Despite this, as Visual Capitalist’s Jeff Desjardins notes, for most of the U.S. population, food actually makes up a decreasing portion of their household spending mix because of rising incomes over time. Just 13.1% of income was spent on food by the average household in 2016, making it a less important cost than both housing and transportation.

That said, fluctuations in food prices can still make a major impact on the population. For lower income households, food makes up a much higher percentage of incomes at 32.6% – and how individual foods change in price can make a big difference at the dinner table.

Only prices of three items fell: chicken breasts (-6.4%), whole milk (-7.4%), and eggs (-14.9%).

However, the average price increase for all items was 22%, buoyed especially by meats like bacon (58.2%), ground beef (44.6%), top round steak (40.6%), frozen turkey (38.3%) and sirloin steak (35.2%).

THE FUTURE OF FOOD

As we’ve previously noted, technology is being applied to agriculture and food in really interesting ways – and the future of food could be very different than what we see today.

How will the grocery prices of everyday staples be affected by growth in automated vertical farms, aquaponics, in vitro meats, and artificial animal products?

With shifting consumer preferences towards more local and sustainable products, it will be interesting to revisit this data in the coming years.

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