American Food Spending As Portion Of Income Hits More Than 30-Year High

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Will Kessler Contributor
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Americans are spending the highest percentage of disposable income on food since the 1990s as a result of sky-high inflation under President Joe Biden, according to data from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Consumers’ average spending on food climbed to 11.3% of their disposable personal income in 2022, according to the USDA. The proportion of disposable income spent on food is at its highest level since 1991, during George H.W. Bush’s tenure, when it stood at 11.4%, and was still declining from the significant increases seen during the 1970s, according to The Wall Street Journal. (RELATED: ‘Serious Problems’: Global Plague Of Recessions Could Infect US, Experts Say)

Food-at-home prices rose around 5% on average in 2023 year-over-year on top of an 11.4% increase in the previous year, compared to the average yearly increase over the past 20 years of 2.5%, according to the USDA. Prices for fats and oils, sugar and sweets, and cereals and bakery products all had the largest increase in 2023, while prices for pork, fish and seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables were less susceptible to price increases.

Overall inflation under Biden has risen rapidly since the start of his term, peaking at 9.1% year-over-year in June 2022, and has so far failed to recede below 3% since, most recently measuring at 3.1% in January. Wages have failed to keep up with the high inflation, falling around 4% when the decline in the number of average hours worked per week is accounted for.

Biden has placed blame on corporations for increasing prices, including calling out companies for shrinkflation, which is the practice of decreasing product sizes to maintain the same price level. Companies typically engage in shrinkflation to adjust for the rising costs of producing products while avoiding raising prices, as consumers are less likely to notice size changes than price changes.

Many top restaurants like Denny’s and Wendy’s saw their guest counts fall in 2023 compared to the previous year as consumers looked to cut back on food spending, according to the WSJ. Food makers like Hershey and Kraft Heinz also reported declines in sales in 2023 as their prices rose rapidly amid high inflation.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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