Lam Thuy Vo, writing for NPR, noted that Americans spend less money on groceries today than they spent 30 years ago. In 1982, citizens spent more than 12% of their money on groceries, compared to less than 9% today. Why the decrease in spending? Walter Falcon, a Stanford economist, attributes the trend to a “major restructuring in poultry, pork, and beef industries that has allowed efficiencies and brought down the cost.”
Most notably, the cost of pork chops, chicken legs, butter, lettuce, and steak – adjusted for inflation – all fell by more than 30%. For instance in 1982, a pound of pork chops (in 2012 dollars) cost Americans $6.00, but today, the price is only $3.72 per pound. At the grocery store Americans also spend their money in a similar fashion, with two exceptions. As to be expected, the share of money going towards meat goods fell from 31.3% in 1982 to 21.5% today, and while citizens spent 11.6% of their funds on processed foods and sweets in 1982, today that percentage has almost doubled to 22.9%.