Survey: Over 92% of Americans Can’t Afford Groceries and 50% Report a Decline in Health

We surveyed 1500 people from across the U.S. (roughly representative of the population) and nearly 75% want to eat healthier but can't afford to


In a time of Economic hardship due to the pandemic and socio-political effects therein, difficulties purchasing healthy items at grocery stores is commonplace. Equivocal challenges apparently exist within the bounds of ordinary food purchasing, the data suggests. Despite an overwhelming majority of the population desiring to eat healthier, the macroeconomic realities are forcing many to cut back instead. We sought to determine the microeconomic causal relation between consumers’ incomes, choice of groceries and purchasing habits. We hope this survey study can serve in helping achieve more accessible prices, especially on healthy food.  


The self-reported Data, roughly representative of the U.S. population, shows the vast majority of Americans (92.87%) think Groceries are too expensive and 50-66% of the population have to shop less, buy lower quality ingredients or buy less items in general, this includes foregoing Organic or Premium ingredients and even the very basics, such as Meat or Poultry.  

The devastating consequences of more than 9 in 10 people struggling with prices of food cannot be overstated. This, according to the data, has consequences on the health of around 50% of the population which has declined in the last year, and nearly 75% of the population wanting to eat healthier but not being able to because of finances.  

Collectively the Data shows us that we’re in an unsustainable economic situation with food value and specifically, the unattainability of good quality & healthy food, which a supermajority desire access to.  


Survey respondents were selected at random to broadly reflect the U.S. population.  

65% earned <$75K and 83% <$100K*  

50% or more of respondents were from the biggest locations/economies = California, Illinois, New York, Florida, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Georgia  

Majority of respondents were either working or self-employed  

Around 50% had no children**  


  • 92.87% said grocery prices are too high (food too expensive)  
  • 65.93% take less trips to the store due to inflation – this includes 82% dining out less for the same reason (so it’s not a swap of spending, money itself is the problem)  
  • 50-55% of people shop less, buy less stuff, and spend more time at home  
  • 57% have to stop buying Organic or Premium ingredients  
  • 74.60% would eat healthier if they could afford it  
  • Around 50% of people feel unhealthier now than they did a year ago  
  • 57.5% are buying less meat and poultry  
  • 71% of people Meal Prep now more than a year ago (once a day or a week)  

*100% of all 1500 respondents answered all 14 questions. However, not all respondents submitted entries to multi-variant questions. (i.e. 31.33% (470) participants answered ‘buying lower quality foods’ to combat inflation, which of 7 variants is 9.91% of the total answers.)


The self-reported Data, roughly representative of the U.S. population, shows the vast majority of Americans (92.87%) think Groceries are too expensive and 50-66% of the population have to shop less, buy lower quality ingredients or buy less items in general, this includes forgoing Organic or Premium ingredients and even the very basics, such as Meat or Poultry.  

The devastating consequences of more than 9 in 10 people struggling with prices of food cannot be overstated. This, according to the data, has consequences on the health of around 50% of the population which has declined in the last year, and nearly 75% of the population wanting to eat healthier but not being able to because of finances.  

Collectively the Data shows us that we’re in an unsustainable economic situation with food value and specifically, the unattainability of good quality & healthy food, which a supermajority desire access to. Most Americans can’t afford good food, and their health, as well as their quality of life – are paying the price. Solutions around supporting healthier food options, and economic accessibility to, as well as focusing inflationary discussion on the necessities instead of the luxuries – would be a good start to improving the quality of life of the public.  

The Historic Impact of Food Inflation in The U.S.   

Historically, when access to quality nutrition suffers due to an economic downturn, it’s not uncommon to see a decline in physical and mental health, productivity, and fertility.  

During the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the combination of high food prices with widespread financial distress made it difficult for families in the U.S. to afford quality ingredients. To cope with rising costs, households across the country reduced the quantity and quality of food consumed.   

As a result, there was a significant drop in self-rated health, a rise in morbidity, and an acceleration in already growing suicide rates.  

While history may not repeat itself, it often rhymes and we’re starting to see similar trends among consumers.  

The Current Economy Shows Similar Data  

Our study found Americans have started to cut back severely to manage food inflation:  

  • 82% of consumers are dining out less  
  • 65% are taking less trips to the grocery store  
  • 57% are replacing organic or premium ingredients with lower quality food items  

These shifts in consumer behaviors could lead to devastating short and long-term impacts. In fact, our findings show that 50% of Americans reported a decline in their health in the past year.  

Ultimately, food inflation will increase health disparities and food insecurity and could result in long-lasting detrimental effects on people’s overall health and well-being,said PhD MPH Tayah Kline, Concordia University.

If this trend persists, the negative effects could reach far beyond public health.   

The Financial Burden of Poor Food Quality   

It’s well-known that a healthy population contributes to greater worker productivity and economic output; unfortunately, the opposite is also true. The fiscal drag created by an unhealthy workforce can create a compound effect that cripples an already sluggish post-pandemic economy.  

When it comes to productivity and national economic output, indirect costs related to preventable chronic diseases can surpass $1 trillion per year. Additionally, over 1 million deaths from cardiovascular diet-related diseases occur annually in the U.S (global deaths total up to almost 10 million).   

It’s important to note it’s not a lack of desire but ability that prevents consumers from making healthier choices. Our survey found 75% of participants expressed a desire to eat healthier but couldn’t due to finances. Similarly, another recent study by the Heritage Foundation Center found that the average American worker lost $4,200 in annual purchasing power as a result of consumer prices rising 12.7% since January 2021.   

Considering over 60% of American households live paycheck to paycheck, the reduction in buying power may have significant unforeseen repercussions. While it’s still uncertain whether inflation will continue to rise or stabilize, one thing is clear: a weaker wallet leads to a weaker population, which leads to a weaker economy, leads to a weaker wallet.  

Barriers To Organic Certification Are Keeping Farmers Out  

One of the biggest obstacles to healthy food distribution are the hoops farms must jump through to become certified organic. The certification process can be rigorous and costly, requiring the hiring of an inspector and incurring a host of sales, production, inspection, and annual fees. The documentation alone can cost thousands of dollars.   

Additionally, it takes farmers a full 36 months to make the transition and become officially certified. Imagine owning a business and letting it tank for three years in the hopes that it’ll not only survive but thrive. To make the shift even riskier, the Organic Trade Association (OTA) recently reported organic food sales have slowed. After organic food purchases soared to 13% in 2020, growth dragged to 2% the following year.   

For many, the barriers to entry and economic uncertainty that comes with them aren’t enough of an incentive to transition their farms. Perhaps, loosening the guidelines while keeping consumers safe or making certifications cheaper to obtain could help encourage production and reduce the cost of organic food in the U.S.   

Lopsided Food Prices Are Forcing Unhealthy Tradeoffs  

Despite the FDA’s blanket food standards, prices and practices can vary dramatically by state. Hawaii and Alaska, for example, have some of the highest cost of groceries, whereas Texas boasts some of the lowest. In 2018, the price of a dozen eggs in Hawaii was $4.49, in Illinois, Kansas, and Virginia, it was less than a dollar. Nevertheless, significant differences in food costs aren’t limited to the state level.   

According to a report published by Feeding America, seven counties including Pike, Alabama, Leon, Florida, and Lafayette, Mississippi fall into the top 10% for food insecurity and meal cost. In other words, the hundreds of thousands of residents living in these communities are struggling to feed themselves due to high meal costs.   

Considering this study was published in 2019, it’s not farfetched to assume conditions have gotten worse with recent food inflation, in fact our study is showing that the problem is much more widespread.   

While these communities may not have the highest expenses in the nation, the reality is their wages haven’t caught up to the rising costs of living. The counties affected by these conditions “can force families to choose between buying food and paying for housing,” a tradeoff no one should have to make. As food costs continue to rise, financial challenges could continue to affect states and counties disproportionally, widening the gap between resilient economies and those less so.   

U.S. vs Global Food Standards   

Considering the U.S., it’s important to examine how our food standards compare to the rest of the world. Despite the FDA’s intensive food standards, the U.S. doesn’t rank in the top ten according to the Global Food Security Index.   

The four measurements on the index include affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation. Curiously, seven out of the top ten countries reside in the European Union. Bearing in mind America is the current wealthiest country in the world, the disparity should be accounted for.   

While the U.S. ranks well for quality and safety, there are still several concerns regarding the management of mismanagement of food distribution. According to the FDA, there are 48 million cases of food-borne illness, more than 125,000 hospitalizations due to largely preventable food-borne illnesses every ear. This year, there have been more than 1,800 entries for food recalls so far.  

For comparison, EU countries only get 50,000 cases of food-borne illness annually while serving 100 million more residents than the U.S. The difference can be traced to a number of factors, mainly, the EU focuses more resources on food safety practices and enforces preventive policies instead of those accounting for probability.  

A Lack of Funding Is Leading to Spotty Regulation  

In America there are over 155,000 food facilities, more than 1 million food establishments, and over 2 million farms. Considering the broad scope of coverage, the FDA simply doesn’t have the resources to adequately monitor and inspect the entire food supply chain. This resource issue has led to overregulation in some areas and a lack thereof in others.   

For example, in the American food system use of the term “organic” requires a farm to go through an intensive, three-year process but products labeled “wellness” or “natural” have zero official regulation. This inconsistency in food descriptions and marketing is confusing buyers.  

A recent consumer report found 73% of shoppers seek out foods labeled “natural” even though the term isn’t clearly defined or regulated by the FDA. As a result consumers may be misled and run unnecessary risks in their effort to find affordably healthy food.   

Lagging Behind In Funding, Regulation, and Food Security  

Similarly, there are many potentially harmful additives allowed in American food production that haven’t been reassessed since they were first introduced or have slipped up the FDA’s nose. Since toxicology research is constantly progressing, legal ingredients could continue to put consumer health at risk as more evidence emerges condemning them.   

In the case of titanium dioxide, a food additive used in milk, candy, and sauces, EU regulators reassessed its use and made the decision to ban it after new research surfaced raising concerns of genotoxicity. In the U.S. however, the additive is still legal and widely used under the “Generally Recognized As Safe” (GRAS) program.   

Under the GRAS program, chemicals and additives can automatically receive FDA approval without going through the petition and review process as long as scientists have consensus that their use is generally recognized as safe. It has been estimated that thousands of additives have been approved under this policy without the FDA’s knowledge.  

While the original GRAS program intended to reevaluate substances in keeping up with new findings, the program ultimately became too resource intensive. In 1997, the FDA determined it could no longer dedicate adequate resources to the GRAS petition program and opted for a voluntary notification program instead.  

This policy created a loophole allowing companies and manufacturers to introduce chemicals and additives to food without independent evaluation. Since many of the studies around food research are industry-funded, this presents an obvious conflict of interest pinning public health against corporate profit. If the U.S. continues to lag behind other countries in funding, consistency of regulation, and food security, this could escalate the health crisis consumers are facing today.  

Short and Long-Term Solutions   

Closing Loopholes and Revising Policy   

The good news is the U.S. is already taking steps towards solutions such as reforming the GRAS system. The new revisions were introduced by the Ensuring Safe and Toxic-Free Foods Act of 2022 and will help close loopholes that endanger public health through our food system.   

Most importantly, it’ll require manufacturers to provide proper supporting evidence for designated substances, prohibit individuals with a conflict of interests from serving as experts to evaluate scientific data, and create an office to reassess the safety of existing food additives and GRAS substances every three years.   

This bill could be a major win in promoting policies that protect consumer health. However, this solution is long-term as the food act must still receive congressional approval before being signed into law.  

Alternative Food Options   

Despite inflation elevating nearly all food prices, in the short-term consumers can look for alternative ingredients or categories that haven’t been hit quite as hard. For example, while fresh and frozen chicken parts have risen 17.8%, fresh fish and seafood, and uncooked ground beef have both only gone up by 7.8%.  

Similarly, all fruits aren’t created equal when it comes to price increases. The cost of oranges and tangerines costs have shot up 14.4% since august 2021 but apples have only risen 3.8% in the same timeframe.    

Households and individuals can also look to plant-based alternatives to get their nutritional needs where necessary. In the past 12 months, one of the steepest price increases was seen in the cost of eggs, which has gone up almost 40%. Instead of sacrificing breakfast, consumers can look to plant-based alternatives that offer similar nutritional value at a lower cost.   

Consumer Price Index: See the full food list on pg. 9-11.   

Quality Over Quality  

In addition to buying alternatives, shoppers can focus their budgets on higher quality foods instead of total quantity. One of the most interesting findings from research on the dietary impact of the Great Recession of 2008 was that even though households reported a lower caloric intake, their diets actually improved.   

Researchers speculate this may have been a result of consumers not only cutting back on food in general but also reducing the amount of highly processed or fast casual foods common with dining out. Considering the ‘typical’ American diet is high in fats and carbs, it’s not hard to connect the dots between diet and disease.   

According to the CDC, more than 40% of Americans are classified as obese. And those who struggle with obesity have a much greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. If our goal is to help support a healthier population and promote longevity while navigating economic uncertainty, cutting total calories while consuming organic and premium foods may hold the answer.  

E-Commerce As A Solution  

Although there are many variables influencing food inflation, one solution may be found in the rise of e-commerce food delivery services. While platforms like DoorDash and UberEats have capitalized on fast-food delivery, they tend to offer options that prioritize convenience over nutritional value. Since these services are sourcing orders from local restaurants the costs in addition to delivery and convenience fees often make them less affordable than groceries.   

In fact, our data shows 83% of participants are ordering less from these delivery apps as a result of increases in food prices. Still, the structure of these services may offer better alternatives to help make healthy food more accessible regardless of location and income level. Newly popularized meal delivery services in the Food & Beverage industry cut out the costs of employment and overhead locations that often get passed onto the consumer.   

At scale, these platforms can provide new avenues for accessing organic, high-quality ingredients at a more affordable cost to shoppers. Considering the financial strain many households are experiencing, these services may be able to fill in the gaps to provide consumers with the nutrition they need while avoiding breaking the bank.  

Organic Food Support and Subsidies   

Our research shows that due to considerable rises in food costs, 59% of Americans have had to stop buying organic or premium ingredients altogether. Although new technologies are improving the distribution of high-quality foods, prices are still being affected by a significant production bottleneck.   

Since 2008 the number of new farms making the switch to organic production has dropped by 71%. Today, organic food makes up 6% of total food sales but only 1% of farmland in the U.S. is in organic production.  

One potential solution can come in the form of subsidies or funding like the Organic Initiative Transition introduced earlier this year. The USDA announced it will invest up to $300 million to help farmers in the U.S. convert to organic produce. With more farms cultivating organic food, greater supply could help reduce costs for consumers.   

Final Thoughts   

The majority of Americans are struggling to afford food and it’s clear that the challenges presented by food inflation are both personal and pervasive. While shifting buying habits towards better food alternatives and using e-commerce technologies can help reduce costs in the short term, support for long-term solutions like the Organic Initiative Transition and Ensuring Safe and Toxic-Free Food Act are necessary.   

If left unchecked, food inflation could continue to cause significant repercussions including greater risks of food insecurity, forcing unhealthy tradeoffs among nearly every socio-economic in the U.S., and triggering a lasting negative impact on public health and well-being. Our hope is this data inspires positive action to prevent further physical and economic loss and make healthy food more accessible to the population at large.  

Deep Dive Into The Data

1. What is your household’s average monthly grocery bill?   

Less than $299 – 23.20%  

$300-599 – 48.67%  

$600-999 – 18.40%  

$1,000 – 1,499 – 6.00%  

$1,500+ – 3.73%  

Over 70% of Americans spend less than $600 monthly on groceries. Considering the median average household income in the U.S. is $70,784, consumers are spending around 10% of their earnings on food shopping. It is safe to assume, based upon the baseline data (income), that an increase in prices will create a decrease in quality based on a lack of resources to ‘buy organic’.   

As gas, energy and basic utilities and necessities are also on the rise, people are perhaps forgoing groceries to not forgo heating, driving to work, or rent as we’ve seen in some counties across the country. We also know from the remainder of the data that many American households are forgoing luxuries, so we can determine the primary reason they aren’t purchasing Healthy Food is not due to mismanagement of money – but due to the cost.   

2. With recent increases in grocery costs, do you think food is too expensive in the U.S.?  

Yes – 92.87%  

No – 7.13%   

With the average increase in the cost of food year-over-year rising 11.4%, almost 300 million are Americans are struggling with food prices. To cope with the higher expense many consumers are being forced to settle for lower quality foods. According to our data, this shift in behavior and diet is already impacting consumers in various ways including a decline in self-reported health.   

For comparison, in 2008’s financial crash, food inflation rose only 5.5% and food insecurity increased 3.2% respectively. As a result, American households cut their spending on groceries by an average 1.6%. However, with recent price increases we’re seeing the steepest rises in food cost in more than 40 years.  

Historically financial crisis and food insecurity impacts low-income communities disproportionately, nevertheless, with our findings reporting more than 90% of Americans are strained by the cost of groceries, it’s safe to assume price fluctuations are impacting American households at nearly every socio-economic level.   

3. How often do you shop for groceries?   

Once a week – 45.87%  

Twice a week – 31.13%  

Once a month – 10.27%   

Twice a month – 12.73%   

Almost half of Americans shop for groceries just once a week. Considering the vast majority are struggling with the price of food it’s clear that households are feeling the financial stress of rising prices multiple times a month. Taking into account 61% of households in the U.S. live paycheck to paycheck, even small price breaks or fluctuations can have a significant impact on quality life and the ability to afford healthy food.  

In order to cope with rising food costs, our data also shows consumers are shopping less in general. As discussed earlier, many communities across the U.S. are being forced to make tradeoffs between healthy food options, food quantity, and living expenses.    

4. Have you been taking less trips to the grocery store due to inflation/high prices?  

Yes – 65.93%  

No – 30.07%  

In addition to reducing the quality of food purchase, almost 2 out of 3 consumers are also reducing the quantity by taking less trips to the grocery store. Out of necessity, it seems shoppers can’t afford to buy with regularity the way they used to. However, this change in buying habits might end up costing them more.   

During the Great Recession of 2008, buyers were able to reduce the prices they paid by roughly 9% when they doubled their trips to the store, shopped for generic goods, and focused on money-saving strategies like couponing.   

Regardless of cost-savings, a reduction in both food quantity and quality has traditionally led to a drop in self-reported health. What we’re seeing in our data is Americans are already beginning to experience a decline in health as a result of changing their diets.  

5. Have you been dining out less as a result of rising food costs? 

Yes – 82.80%  

No – 17.20%  

8 out of 10 Americans have dramatically reduced the amount they dine out. In the face of rising food costs, consumers may categorize dining out as a gratuitous luxury, opting for the more affordable option of preparing meals at home.   

In combination with shoppers ordering less from meal delivery apps like DoorDash, this shift in behavior could negatively impact the restaurant industry at large. From 2006-2009 households reduced their spend on dining out by 12.9%. Although fast-food chains showed resilience due to “dollar-priced” menus, casual dining suffered the most.   

Considering more than 11 million people are employed by the restaurant industry, labor shortages, wage increases, and a decline in demand could put small businesses and workers at risk.   

 6. What measures are you taking to combat inflation? (select all that apply)  

Dining Out Less

Respondents – 66.40%

Answers – 21.00%

Fewer Trips to the Grocery Store

Respondents – 49.53%

Answers – 15.67%

Buying Less Stuff at the Store

Respondents – 56.93%

Answers – 18.01%

Spending More Time at Home

Respondents – 54.67%

Answers – 17.29%

Buying Products in Bulks

Respondents – 39.67%

Answers – 12.55%

Shopping Used

Respondents – 17.60%

Answers – 12.55%

Buying Lower Quality Foods

Respondents – 31.33%

Answers – 9.91%

In addition to taking less trips to the grocery store and dining out less, consumers in the U.S. are choosing to buy in bulk and spend more time at home. Bearing in mind the cost of oil rose 25.6% in the past 12 months ended August, it would seem consumers are sacrificing the cost of going out in order to save by staying home. This behavioral change is also supported by American households reducing their spend on other luxuries but not on streaming services like Netflix.   

Additionally, more than half of respondents are buying less altogether in order to save. Since nearly 70% of our GDP in the U.S. is based on consumption, a major slowdown in spending, at scale could induce a recession similar to that of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008.   

7. What’s Your Preferred Diet Type?

A1 – Keto (Low Carb)


A2 – Paleo (No Artificial Foods)


A3 – Mediterranean Diet (Meat, Fish, Veggies)


A4 – Vegan (Plant-Based)


A5 – ‘Typical’ American (High Carb, High Fats)


A6 – Other


Over 40% of Americans still subscribe to a ‘typical’ high carb, high fat diet. This data may shed some light on why most consumers haven’t lessened the amount of cooking oils and breads/cereals they’re buying, instead choosing to reduce their meat and poultry intake, foods commonly higher in protein. Unfortunately, the traditional American diet has been associated with high rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and types of cancer.   

The silver lining of research found that almost 20% of Americans subscribe to the Mediterranean Diet. This particular way of eating is known for supporting longevity and cardiovascular health. While it’s encouraging to see a large subset following one of the healthiest diets, Americans may find it hard to sustain this lifestyle and afford the nutrition they need as higher quality ingredients stretch beyond their reach.  

Our data is also consistent with the growth of Veganism and plant-based dieters across the U.S. Compared to 2020, self-reported Vegans have grown from 3% to roughly 5% of the total population. Vegans may also have an advantage when it comes to affordability due to the naturally higher prices of meat and poultry.   

8. Do You Find Yourself Replacing Organic or Premium Ingredients (Such as Grass-Fed Steak, Cage-Free, Eggs, etc.) for Lower Quality Foods Because They’re More Affordable?

Yes – 57%

No – 43%

More than half of consumers in the U.S. are being forced to buy lower quality ingredients because they can’t afford better alternatives. A lack of access to high quality food combined with economic stress has historically caused a decline on the physical and mental health of the U.S. population as a whole.   

Organically-grown ingredients tend to contain more nutrients and Omega-3 fatty acids than non-organic produce. Naturally, foods free from pesticides, antibiotics, and genetic modification promote overall health and help consumers avoid preventable diseases related to nutrition. Considering up to 55% of preventable deaths in the U.S. are related to diet, according to the CDC, access to high quality ingredients is vital.   

However, if almost 60% of American households can’t afford foods that don’t contain potentially harmful substances, they may be putting themselves at unnecessary risk of diseases including heart disease and several types of cancers. As long as high quality nutrition continues to be unattainable for most Americans, there’s no question individual quality of life and public health will suffer.   

9. Would You Subscribe To a Healthier Diet (Ingredients, etc.) If You Could Afford It?

Yes – 74.60%

No – 25.40%

Almost 75% of Americans would eat healthier if they could. Considering more than half of consumers can’t afford to buy organic or premium quality ingredients, it’s doesn’t appear to be a matter of desire or knowledge but affordability that’s preventing Americans from eating a healthier diet.   

Taking into account over $730 million is spent treating preventable illness in the U.S., the potential fiscal and physical loss due to unhealthy eating habits are staggeringly high. While almost 40% of Americans subscribe to a high carb, high fat diet, they’re still in the minority when combining other diet lifestyles that target weight-loss, longevity, and sustainability.   

It stands to reason that most households in the U.S. prefer healthier and higher quality ingredients but simply don’t have the means to consistently purchase them. As explained earlier, even in communities that don’t demand a relatively high cost of living, the disparity between wages and food costs make healthier choices unobtainable.   

10. Since Changing The Way You Eat With Prices Going Up, Do You Feel:

During the last Great Recession, financial distress affected public health in various ways. On one hand we saw a predictable decline in self-reported health, along with an uptick in morbidity and psychological stress. The economic crisis also affected low-income individuals disproportionately.   

On the other hand, along with fruits and vegetables, Americans also reduced the quantity of sugary products, soft drinks, and other fast-food products that can contribute to poor health. The result was a mixed bag of positive and negative effects on consumer health.   

However, recent food inflation seems to be exclusively impacting public health negatively. Our findings show that dietary changes due to shoppers having to opt for smaller quantities of food and lower quality ingredients have resulted in around 50% of consumers reporting they feel worse than they did a year ago. Also, instead of affecting low-income earners disproportionately, the current fluctuations in food prices aren’t only impacting most Americans but also a population of a slightly higher than average earners. *   

11. Have You Canceled Subscriptions (Netflix, Amazon, Spotify, etc.) To Pay For Groceries?

No – 61.20%

Yes – 38.80

Consumers in the U.S. have taken many measures to combat food inflation including dining out less, buying in bulk, and buying less altogether, however the majority aren’t giving up at-home streaming and entertainment services.   

During the pandemic, streaming services received a massive tailwind surpassing 1 billion subscriptions globally. Since our data shows households are spending more time at home, it seems consumers have become more comfortable with at-home entertainment and see it as viable solution to avoid spending on gas, transportation, and eating out.   

12. Which Foods Are You Buying Less of Due To Inflation? (select all that apply)


A1 – Meat/Poultry

Respondents – 57.53%

Answers – 21.05%

A2 – Fish

Respondents – 36.53%

Answers – 13.37%

A3 – Fruit

Respondents – 29.80%

Answers – 10.91%

A4 – Vegetables

Respondents – 25.40%

Answers – 9.29%

A5 – Cereals/Grains/Bread

Respondents – 24.40%

Answers – 8.93%

A6 – Snacks

Respondents – 58.00%

Answers – 21.22%

A7 – Milk/Dairy

Respondents – 24.33%

Answers – 8.90%

A8 – Cooking Oils

Respondents – 17.27%

Answers – 6.32%

The largest categories that buyers in the U.S. are cutting back on are snacks and meat. Consumers may see snacks as unnecessary treats or luxuries, choosing to spend more on dietary staples. Meat and poultry-related items tend to be the most expensive categories and coincidentally were hit the hardest by inflation.   

In the past 12 months the cost of ground beef rose 8.6%, chicken rose 16.6%, and eggs rose 39.8%. Curiously, cereals and bread also experienced steep price increases, however, this category hasn’t seen a strong pullback in consumer spending. This may be due to bread and grains having a much lower overall cost compared to meat. Considering Russia and Ukraine collectively make up almost 30% of the global wheat export market, it’s fair to say recent geopolitical conflicts have also impacted prices for consumers.   

13. Have You Been Ordering More or Less Delivery (DoorDash, UberEats, etc.) As a Result of Food Price Increases?

More – 17%

Less – 83%

While roughly 2/3 of Americans reported food delivery was their preferred way of eating dinner, our research found that more than 80% of consumers are ordering less from services like DoorDash and UberEats. This steep decline in purchases from restaurants is common during economic downturns.   

Even with rising gas prices and increases in transportation costs, many of the “convenience fees” associated with food delivery apps tend to get passed onto consumers. It could be that consumers view these services as nonessential compared to the lower cost of preparing meals at home. Since around 70% of food delivery orders are for fast-casual meals, this shift in behavior may also indicate that households are reducing the total food quantity consumed including ‘unhealthy’ options.   

14. How Often Do You Meal Prep vs One Year Ago?

More than 70% of Americans meal prep daily or weekly. The biggest motivators for meal prep are saving time and eating healthier. However, rising food costs forcing consumers to forego high-quality ingredients could make it difficult for the vast majority to follow a healthy diet.   

Daily – 29.73%

Weekly – 40.47%

Monthly – 8.67%

Never – 21.13%

*Important to note that these answers come from a slightly higher than average earner group (15% of individuals earn $75K or more, we have 35%) so these results would likely be worse in the aggregate of the wider population

**Relevant due to the costs still being high with buying for less people