Search on TFTC
Food Inflation Continues to Strain American Households

Food Inflation Continues to Strain American Households

Apr 29, 2024

Food Inflation Continues to Strain American Households

Recent reports from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) have highlighted a continuing trend of food inflation that is impacting American consumers. As reported on April 25, the USDA Economic Research Service (USDA ERS) predicts that food prices will continue to rise throughout the year, with certain staples such as eggs, and beef expected to see increases above 3 percent. This follows a year where food prices rose by 5.8 percent in 2023.

According to the Food Price Outlook report, the overall food price inflation for the year is anticipated to be 2.2 percent. The breakdown of expected price increases for various food categories is as follows:

  • Beef and veal: 3.3 percent
  • Poultry: 1.6 percent
  • Eggs: 4.8 percent
  • Fats and oils: 2.2 percent
  • Sugar and sweets: 4.3 percent
  • Cereals and bakery products: 0.1 percent
  • Fresh fruits: 0.4 percent
  • Fresh vegetables: 1.1 percent

In contrast, the prices for fish and seafood, as well as dairy products, are projected to decline by 1.6 percent in 2024, with pork prices remaining stable.

The USDA ERS report also provides insights into the Producer Price Index (PPI), a measure of price changes as experienced by domestic producers. The PPI is often a precursor to consumer-level inflation. Notable projections for the PPI include a 9.4 percent increase for farm-level cattle, a 12.7 percent increase for wholesale poultry, and a 22.3 percent increase for eggs.

The backdrop of these increases is a challenging economic landscape for many Americans. A December survey conducted by retail tech firm Swiftly found that two-thirds of consumers are struggling to afford their grocery expenses. The survey revealed that 82 percent of respondents use coupons and 64 percent participate in loyalty programs to alleviate some of the financial burdens. Additionally, 53 percent have adjusted their grocery budgets or shopping habits in response to rising interest rates.

Swiftly CEO Henry Kim highlighted that "The ongoing fluctuations in inflation, along with other financial pressures like student loan repayments and rising interest rates, are pushing consumers deeper into debt."

An April 17 Gallup poll found that among G7 nations, the United States had the highest percentage of citizens struggling to afford food. In 2023, 26 percent of Americans reported difficulties in feeding themselves.

Republican lawmakers have criticized President Joe Biden's economic policies, attributing the rise in grocery prices to his administration's actions. Representative Mike Flood (R-Neb.) stated, "Years of out-of-control spending by President Biden and Washington Democrats have made it difficult to get inflation under control as working Americans continue to pay more and more for housing, groceries, and everyday basic needs."

The Republican National Committee has also blamed the inflationary pressures on Democrat-backed stimulus bills such as the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan from 2021 and the Inflation Reduction Act passed in 2023.

Amid these economic challenges, food insecurity has increased under the Biden administration. USDA data shows that in 2022, 12.8 percent of U.S. households were food insecure, up from 10.2 percent in 2021.

The issue of high inflation is expected to be a prominent factor in the upcoming 2024 presidential race. A December 2023 poll indicated that 52 percent of Americans are more concerned about inflation than other issues like immigration, crime, and unemployment.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) criticized the administration's handling of the economy, stating, "American consumers are shelling out a bigger portion of their income on groceries than at any point in the last 30 years."

As the debate over the causes and solutions to food inflation continues, American households face the immediate reality of higher prices at the grocery store and the difficult choices that come with budgeting for basic needs.

Food Price Outlook Report

The Epoch Times Article


Current Block Height

Current Mempool Size

Current Difficulty