We’re Spending Less On Groceries?

Reported by, the online wholesale food marketplace-

Over the past several years increases in grocery and gas prices are one constant in everyone’s lives. We all know and understand that when gas prices rise, transportation costs rise as well. Therefore, our grocery bills are bloated in order to cover the cost of transporting goods. Yeah, that’s a no-brainer, but it doesn’t make it any easier on our wallets.

Lucky for us we can use technology to our advantage. Digital coupons and daily deals such as Groupon and Livingsocial can somewhat ease the pain. Also, there are hundreds of DIY websites, blogs and videos, along with other methods designed to save money. For instance, using the bulk and freeze method, choosing store brands, shopping a farmers markets, meal-planning, joining a CSA and shopping on days when new coupons are released, like Wednesdays can be very helpful.

Interesting enough, as we see our grocery bills inflate year after year, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics via NPR’s Planet Money, we are spending less on groceries, and shopping differently than we did 30 years ago. Nearly 9% of our spending goes towards groceries compared to 12%-13% in 1982.

To no surprise, we now spend a hefty load on processed foods, which are bad for our health and the environment. Approximately 12% of our spending went towards processed foods and sweets in 1982. Today, yes, in 2012, close to a quarter of our dollars are spent in the same food category. Talk about changing the way we spend. Can you believe meat prices are more affordable nowadays? Only 22% of our money is spent on meat, almost half of spending 30 years ago. This is due to various reasons including decreases in overall meat prices (see chart below), the rise of vegan and vegetarianism, campaigns against meat consumption, the economic downturn and cost-sharing programs just to name a few. Other food prices have dipped over the years as well such as fruits and vegetables, and condiments such as butter and sugar.

Although we see the stats before our eyes, it’s hard to believe we’re spending less on our groceries. I’m still in disbelief after paying nearly $40 for 14 items in Safeway yesterday; 6 items were on sale, while none of the 14 were processed foods. The verdict is still out in my opinion, what do you think? What was the total of your last grocery bill? What do you think is the cause of lowered food prices over a 30-year span? As they say, “The proof is in the pudding,” but my pockets are still hurting.

(Additional Resources on Food and Consumer Price Index 1, 2, 3)

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