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Food in America keeps getting more affordable

Justin Sullivan

The latest round of inflation hysteria (which you should be ignoring for these eight reasons) is especially focused on the rising price of certain foods. The interesting thing about food is that the general category contains many many many different commodities. So at any given time it's almost certainly going to be the case that the price of something or other — pork or milk or wheat or what have you — is skyrocketing.

But here's a chart of expenditures on food as a share of all disposable income:

Food_is_cheap The big story is a huge multi-generational increase in food affordability. It's true that the pace of progress has slowed down with the bad economy over the past decade. But zoom in and you'll see that affordability is pretty steady, not deteriorating:


In the short-term, this is a noisy data series. Food prices swing a lot more than personal incomes do. But if anything, since the recession started food has become slightly more affordable for the typical family.