It’s Been 30 Years Since Food Ate Up This Much of Your Income: WSJ

It’s Been 30 Years Since Food Ate Up This Much of Your Income: WSJ

The cost of eating in America has escalated to levels last seen when President George H.W. Bush led the nation, when “Terminator 2: Judgment Day” ruled the box office, and C+C Music Factory topped the music charts, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Despite a recent deceleration, inflation continues to drive up prices at an accelerated rate, with particular strain felt within the food sector. And they’re not going down any time soon.

“If you look historically after periods of inflation, there’s really no period you could point to where [food] prices go back down,” Steve Cahillane, chief executive of snack giant Kellanova, told the Journal. “They tend to be sticky.”

Data from the Labor Department indicates that diners are confronting a 5.1% hike in restaurant prices, while grocery expenses have risen 1.2% since January 2023. These figures stand as testaments to the continual climb of food-related expenditures, irrespective of a slower overall inflation rate.

The U.S. Agriculture Department reports disclose that Americans allocated 11.4% of their disposable income to food back in 1991, a period still under the shadows of 1970s price surges. Flashing forward over thirty years, this rate has nearly mirrored its past, with 2022 figures showing an 11.3% expenditure of available personal funds on sustenance.

President Biden has expressed frustration over food inflation, notably critiquing paradoxical practices wherein consumers receive less for their money—a phenomenon he lambasted on Instagram during the Super Bowl as “shrinkflation.” The President voiced the population’s exhaustion with such deceptive strategies, characterizing them as outright scams.

Responding to the criticism, David Chavern, CEO of the Consumer Brands Association, maintains that a variety of product price points exist within the market. He notes the industry’s eagerness to collaborate with the administration to forge impactful solutions for consumers’ benefit.