The shocking finding is from the latest the Golden/TIPP Poll of 1,643 Americans completed past Friday.
The poll asked Americans how they were dealing with the higher food costs. While 88% of the survey respondents replied they were making changes, 10% said they had not made changes to their food budgets.
Given an option to choose all that applied, the survey found -
- 50% Buying store brands more often
- 47% Cutting down on high-ticket items (i.e., meats)
- 36% Shopping at bargain stores
- 34% Eating less (portion sizes)
- 23% Skipping meals
- 21% Go to food banks to supplement groceries
- 20% Applied and got federal or state assistance such as SNAP/WIC
- 17% Growing my vegetables
- 2% Other
While most are buying store brands and hunting for bargains, the percentage of people cutting down on food and skipping entire meals is worrisome. Lack of adequate food for prolonged periods could lead to malnutrition and compromised immunity. Given that the Coronavirus is still lurking in our midst, people with low immunity will be highly susceptible to infection.
Food banks and charity organizations across the country are doing all they can to feed the hungry. The largest food bank in America, the Houston Food Bank, distributes about 610,000 pounds of food every day.
Food Expenses Increase Double Digits
Inflation touched 9.1% in the country, meaning a dollar does not stretch as far or fetch as much as it used to. With fuel and food prices soaring to record levels, the purchasing power of the ordinary American has been significantly hit. The exorbitant prices are forcing people to make tough choices or even cut back on essentials.
When asked, “Due to price increases, how much more does your family spend on groceries these days than last year?” the responses were
- 8% No increase
- 26% 1-10% more
- 30% 10-20% more
- 18% 20-30% more
- 11% More than 30%
- 7% Not sure
Inflation is causing more than a quarter of Americans to shell out 10% more for their food. About a tenth of the survey respondents are paying more than 30% than they did a year ago.
The South and West of the country seem to be facing the highest increases, with a median percentage of 15. While those in income brackets ranging from under-30K to below-75K showed a median increase of 13%, those earning more than 75K revealed a median increase of 16%, likely indicating a steep rise in the prices of high-ticket items.
With the Covid-19 pandemic yet to end and the war dragging on, the future is far from rosy. Many are having to resort to food banks and charities for the first time to feed their families, despite holding down paying jobs. With the government shutting down COVID-19 relief initiatives and economists calling for austerity measures, things may get worse before they get better.
Food prices are likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. With the drought in several places, in America and around the world, threatening poor harvests, supply is expected to fall short of demand. High fuel prices drive up the cost of collecting and distributing food, which is often reflected in the prices on the grocery shelves. For now, people are doing their best with what they have and stretching every cent.
Though the White House is blaming the Russian invasion of Ukraine for all these woes, not many are buying it. The responses to the question, “President Biden says the reason for higher food and fuel costs is “Russia, Russia, Russia.” To what extent do you agree or disagree?” reads:
- 50% Disagree
- 41% Agree
- 9% Not sure
Naturally, political affiliation and ideology play a big part in how much people are willing to trust the President’s reasoning. While 81% of Republicans and 59% of Independents do not agree with the administration’s reckoning, 67% of Democrats do. Similarly, 69% of Conservatives do not think Russia is at the root of the problem, while 41% of Moderates and 60% of Liberals see merit in this line of thinking.
A political blame game is of no use to families struggling to put food on the table. Many Americans feel that their paychecks will not keep up with the rising costs, causing them immense anxiety about the future. It remains to be seen how America will deal with 40-year high inflation and how much Americans will have to tighten their belts to get through these pricey times.
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DP1020 - Food Inflation - 07/22
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