January 26, 2023

Household food expenditures increased 15% from last year

Household food expenditures increased 15% from last year

By: Sydney Sheffield 

A recent survey-based report out of Purdue University's Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability found that in December 2022, household food expenditures have increased by 15% from January 2022. The report assessed food spending, consumer satisfaction, values, support of agricultural and food policies, and trust in information sources. 

“Broadly speaking, consumers faced some budget constraints this holiday season,” said Jayson Lusk, the head and Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at Purdue, who leads the center. “About a third said they were worried about being able to afford gifts, but this was far from the majority. When we compare responses to inflation in December to this past summer, most of these behaviors have not increased in frequency.”

The survey included 1,200 consumers from across the United States and the key findings were:

  • Household food expenditures increased more than 15% from January

  • Consumers are shopping at discount stores more and spending less on discretionary expenses

  • 36% of consumers were worried about being able to afford holiday gifts this year

  • 14% of consumers are finding certain items out of stock compared to 25% in January

  • Sugar was the most common item that consumers limited in their 2022 diets

“The 15% increase in food spending this year is obviously a significant change and has drawn much interest in its cause and its effects,” Lusk said. “But it is worth pointing out that our indicators like food security and food satisfaction have not similarly moved in any one direction, which is a good sign that well-being has likely not decreased on average.”

The data trends that emerged from the report demonstrate that most people are slow to start spending differently when it comes to their favorite foods, despite an economic environment much different than when the year began. The survey results noted that where people spend these dollars has not shifted. 

The report noted additional areas where consumer food insights have not changed throughout 2022:

  • Food insecurity rates have remained steady

  • There is no noticeable trend in stated satisfaction or happiness with food

  • Our Sustainable Food Purchasing (SFP) Index hasn’t much changed

  • The share of consumers who reported being vegetarian or vegan is essentially flat

  • Specific consumer shopping and eating habits remain steady. These included items like how often people choose cage-free over conventional eggs or choose organic over non-organic or choose local over non-local foods or check nutrition labels

In December 2022, the average food spending price was $186 per week. Check out Purdue’s report here.