June 30, 2022

Americans are changing their eating habits as inflation soars

Americans are changing their eating habits as inflation soars

By: Sydney Sheffield

As inflation soars, many Americans are changing the ways they shop and consume food. Currently, inflation is the highest it has been in over 40 years. Food-at-home prices have increased 11.9%, over the past year, up almost a point from May 2022, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Alpha Foods, 90% of Americans are concerned about food prices. The new data shows that meat (62%) is the top inflation fear in the food category for Americans. It’s also worth noting that more Americans identified eating or drinking at restaurants as an inflation worry even than a month ago (42% in May, compared to 38% in April). The research also shows that besides the typical plan of cutting back on eating
outside of home or spending on groceries, Americans are changing their eating habits.
“What we’re seeing from the research is that inflation is having a profound effect on daily
behaviors, especially grocery shopping,” said Kierstin De West, Chief Marketing Officer at Alpha Foods. “Not only are Americans reducing and altering their budgets, but they're also changing what they're shopping for, as they look for more cost-effective ways to keep up with inflation.” As concerned as they are, Americans feel ready and willing to tackle their inflation fears, with eight in 10 (82%) planning to take matters into their own hands by:

 52% taking fewer trips to the grocery store
 45% shopping generic brands or store labels
 40% entertaining at home instead of going out to eat
 33% buying in bulk

Deciding between healthy foods or budget-friendly foods is a big factor for many Americans. “The stuff that we used to eat we’re not eating anymore,” Stormy Johnson, a student support specialist in West Virginia, told CNBC. “Look at the amount of food you could buy for $100, and then see what you could buy healthy for $100.” Tania Brown, an Atlanta-based certified financial planner, has also been shifting her food spending over the last few months. “I remember the day I could go in and find any food item I wanted,” Brown told CNBC. “Now, you may have to have a first and second meal choice because the meat you want isn’t available or the price of that meat just went up.” “Initially concern was highest around gas prices, followed by groceries and other forms of discretionary spending,” said Abbey Lunney, managing director at The Harris Poll. “But in the last couple of weeks, groceries have become the number 1 concern for Americans.” The food index increased 1.2 percent in May following a 0.9% increase the prior month. The index for dairy and related products rose 2.9%, its largest monthly increase since July 2007. The index for meats, poultry, and fish, rose 1.1% from May to June.