Each trip to the grocery store is a reminder that the dollar is heading closer to insolvency with each passing day. Inflation has led to filet mignon prices for ground beef and Whole Foods at the local Dollar General.
Several emerging trends show how consumers are responding to inflation, and these trends may serve as necessary reminders that your family isn’t the only one finding creative ways to overcome sticker shock at Piggly Wiggly, H.E.B, or Publix. A recent survey asked American shoppers about their grocery habits. Here are some of the main takeaways.
1. Couponing Is The Leading Means of Saving Money on Groceries
47% of survey respondents said they’ve turned to couponing to save money on groceries. Grandma would be proud you’ve finally seen the error of your non-coupon-ing ways. With these prices, few can afford to pass up a deal.
2. Americans Are Using Inflation as Motivation to Diet
37% of respondents are coping with rising food costs by eating less. 18% are even skipping meals entirely. This seems unfathomable in the United States, and it’s utterly depressing.
3. Younger People Are Spending Less on Groceries
Perhaps it’s a reflection that they’re typically shopping for one or an indication that younger generations are struggling in the job market. Still, Baby Boomers spend about $230 more per month on groceries than shoppers in Generation Z. Boomers spend about $734 per month at the grocery store, while Gen Zers spend about $503.
4. Real Meals or Leave It on The Shelf
Americans claim they’ve cut out junk food in favor of actual meals, as it’s difficult to justify spending $8 for a bag of Cheetos.
5. Nearly Half of Millennials Shop at Dollar Stores
A reported 49% of Millennials, the generation we thought would be buying organic until the day they died, are turning to dollar stores for their groceries. Whole Foods is out of the question when a head of lettuce costs an arm and a leg.
6. Meal Planning Is a Financial Life Saver
Fiscally responsible Americans’ dining-out budgets have shrunk considerably during this period of substantial inflation. Meal planning becomes required when the eroding U.S. dollar has you living paycheck to paycheck.
7. Government Benefits Aren’t Covering The Difference
Those who rely on SNAP benefits and other forms of assistance report still feeling the weight of inflation’s boot on their neck, especially amidst certain benefit rollbacks.
8. Americans Are Shopping Around for The Best Prices
46% of shoppers aren’t loyal to these chains, instead shopping around for the best prices. However, shoppers must do online research first because you might spend more burning fuel than you save on cheaper meatballs.
9. Many Are Still Paying for Grocery Delivery Services
As consumers work longer hours to keep up with rising food costs, they continue to utilize grocery delivery services as a matter of convenience. Walmart+ was the highest-grossing service, with consumers spending $882 on average per month for delivery.
10. Shoppers Are Turning To Google for Answers
Internet searches like “cheap meals that last a week” and “cheap family meals under $10” have increased by several hundred percentage points in 2023, indicating consumers are desperate for cost-saving answers.
11. Vegetarianism by Inflation Is on The Rise
Some choose not to eat meat because they believe animals are our friends rather than our food. Some believe a plant-based diet is a healthier diet. Others, especially in 2023, choose not to eat meat because they can’t afford it anymore. Or, at least, not as often as they used to.
12. By and Large, Grocery Expenses Aren’t Crushing Americans Financially
According to the data, Americans spend 12% of their average monthly income on groceries. This statistic is in line with historical trends in grocery budgets, but it doesn’t tell the whole story. Americans are getting less for that 12% than ever before.
13. Premium Stores Lose When Inflation Hits
Fewer than one in ten Americans buy groceries at Whole Foods, which is wholly too expensive to afford during these trying economic times.
14. To Most, The Future Looks Bleak
Consumers have very little confidence that grocery prices will decrease in 2024, as 91% of respondents said they’re worried about affording groceries in the future.