U.S. consumers spent an average of 11.3 percent of their disposable personal income on food in 2022, a level not observed since the 1980s, according to USDA’s Economic Research Service. Disposable personal income is the amount of money consumers have left to spend or save after paying taxes.
Consumers spent 5.62 percent of their incomes on food at supermarkets, convenience stores, warehouse club stores, supercenters, and other retailers in 2022 and 5.64 percent on food at restaurants, fast-food establishments, schools, and other places offering food away from home. In 2022, the share spent on total food had the sharpest annual increase, 12.7 percent. This followed an 8.2-percent decline, the sharpest annual drop in total food spending since 1967, during the first year of the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
The recent volatility in spending was driven by consumers’ sudden drop in eating out at the beginning of the pandemic followed by a return to food-away-from-home purchases as pandemic-related restrictions and concerns eased.