Why organic food prices are rising faster than conventional foods


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Eggs may be the new luxury status symbol at the grocery store checkout line, but they’re not the only product with a rising price tag. From chicken to fresh fruits and veggies, Americans everywhere are seeing painful price hikes at the grocery store — particularly if they’re buying organic.

We analyzed weekly retail pricing data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to determine how food prices have changed from January 2022 to January 2023. Additionally, we analyzed U.S. Census Bureau Household Pulse Survey and American Community Survey data to estimate where people spend the largest percentage of their income on food prepared and eaten at home.

Here’s what we found:

Key findings

  • Americans are seeing increased pressure on their food budgets. Chicken costs are up 9.5% year over year, according to our analysis of USDA data, while fruits and vegetables are 10.9% more costly. Separately, the price of a dozen large white eggs has soared 141.8% in the same period.
  • Beef prices have bucked these trends. In the past year, beef costs are down 2%. Filet mignon has seen the biggest drop (50.1%), from $19.01 a pound last year to $9.49 this year.
  • Organic food prices are rising quicker than their conventional counterparts. Organic chicken costs 19.5% more than a year ago, compared with a 5.9% bump in conventional chicken costs. The same is seen with fruits and vegetables — organic costs are up 13.1% over the past year, while conventional costs are up 9.9%.
  • U.S. households spend an average of $260 a week on food prepared and eaten at home. That means households spend an average of 13.8% of their income on food at home, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data.
  • Mississippi residents spend the largest percentage of their income on food at home. Households in the state spend an average of 20.2% of their income on this food, followed by West Virginia (19.6%) and Louisiana (18.6%).
  • District of Columbia residents spend the lowest percentage of their income on food at home. Households in D.C. spend an average of 8.1% of their income on food, ahead of Massachusetts (10.6%) and Connecticut (11.1%).

Food prices are rising — which products have seen the biggest swings?

With inflation as high as it’s been, it’s no surprise Americans are shelling out more for their groceries — but some food products have seen particularly high spikes. Chicken costs, for example, have risen an average of 9.5% between January 2022 and January 2023.

Specifically, the chicken product in the USDA database that has seen the highest price hike in the past year is organic chicken legs, which have risen from $1.09 a pound to $1.82 (67.0%).

On the other hand, the chicken products with the biggest price drops were:

  • Rotisserie breast, which fell from $6.69 a pound to $2.99 (55.3%)
  • Party wings (individual quick freezing), which fell from $3.80 a pound to $2.19 (42.4%)
  • Legs, which fell from $1.19 a pound to 69 cents (42.0%)

Meanwhile, fruits and vegetables are 10.9% more costly this year than last year. Seven of the 10 fruits and vegetables with the biggest jumps saw price increases of more than 100%, though.

Some fruits and vegetables also saw large price drops. The top three fruits and vegetables with the biggest price decreases were:

  • Organic green bell peppers, which fell from $2.99 a pound to $1.29 (56.9%)
  • Seedless watermelons, which fell from $7.99 each to $3.99 (50.1%)
  • Satsuma (citrus), which fell from $5.91 for a three-pound bag to $2.98 (49.6%)

Separately, the price of a dozen large white eggs has jumped 141.8% in the same period, to $3.99 from $1.65. Following that, the cost of large organic Omega-3 white eggs jumped by 42%, to $3.99 from $2.81.

Generally, the rise in grocery prices can be attributed to international conflicts and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s another reason why eggs in particular have seen such a high spike in prices, though: According to the USDA, an avian influenza virus — which started spreading in early 2022 — has led to more than 57 million chickens being culled, severely affecting the supply of eggs available.

@fs.pod Is eating organic worth the price tag? We dive DEEP discussing what the real differences are between organic and non-organic foods when it comes to: – Chemicals used during farming – Pesticides and insecticides – Overall nutrient density And so much more on this coming Monday’s podcast. #organic #organicfood #gmo #health #healthy ♬ Blade Runner 2049 – Synthwave Goose

Dreaming of filet mignon? Beef prices are down

Although consumers are shelling out more at grocery stores for most of their food products, there’s some good news: Beef costs are down 2% year over year. Filet mignon has seen the biggest drop (50.1%), from $19.01 a pound last year to $9.49 this year. Following that, the price of bone-in rib-eye roasts has fallen to $4.99 from $9.72 a pound (48.7%).

While that’s good news, the reason for the decline isn’t as positive. A severe drought in the U.S. has affected 60% of the nation’s cattle supply, according to the USDA. Many ranchers can’t feed their livestock, leading them to slaughter some of their cattle early — increasing the supply of beef across the U.S.

Not all beef prices have fallen, though. It’s worth noting that the price of flat iron steaks has risen from $7.13 a pound to $9.17 — a jump of 28.6%. Following that, prices for flat brisket have jumped to $9.44 from $7.42 (27.2%).

Organic food prices rising quicker than conventional groceries

Given how comparatively difficult it is to produce, it may be unsurprising that organic food prices are rising at a much faster rate than conventional foods. Among the food groups analyzed, organic chicken saw the biggest jump compared with its conventional counterpart: While conventional chicken costs 5.9% more on average than it did last year, organic chicken costs 19.5% more.

The most dramatic difference? Chicken legs. While organic chicken legs cost 67% more than last year (going to $1.82 from $1.09), conventional chicken legs are cheaper this year — prices fell by 42% (going to 69 cents from $1.19). Following that, some other cuts with some steep differences include:

  • Whole wings: Organic prices rose 39.4%, while conventional prices fell 25.4%
  • Skinless, boneless breast: Organic prices rose 26.1%, while conventional prices fell 3.7%
  • Leg quarters: Organic prices rose 27.1%, while conventional prices stayed the same.

That’s true for fruits and vegetables, too. Organic costs for fruits and veggies are up 13.1% over the past year, while conventional costs are up 9.9%. Across all fruits and veggies, the difference is starkest among strawberries. While the price of organic strawberries rose by 224.4% (going  to $9.99 from $3.08), the price of conventional strawberries rose by just 22.6% (going to $3.53 from $2.88). Some other notable differences include:

  • Mixed mini sweet peppers: While organic prices rose 107.3%, conventional prices rose 25.8%
  • Vine-ripe tomatoes: While organic prices rose 100.5%, conventional prices rose 18.6%
  • Orange bell peppers: While organic prices rose 100.4%, conventional prices rose 17.7%
  • Kale: While organic prices rose 80%, conventional prices fell 10%

U.S. households spend $260 a week on food at home

Given how much food prices have risen, it’s worth noting that U.S. households spend an average of $260 a week on food prepared and eaten at home, according to the Census Bureau. With the average household income in the U.S. at $97,962, that means households spend an average of 13.8% of their income on food at home, according to our analysis of Census Bureau data.

According to LendingTree chief credit analyst Matt Schulz, it’s understandable consumers are shelling out for their groceries.

“Americans love dining out and spend a ton of money in restaurants, but the truth is that we do most of our preparing, cooking, and eating at home,” Schulz says. “And though eating at home is often recommended to help keep expenses down, it’s not necessarily inexpensive. Cooking at home doesn’t have to mean ground beef and hot dogs. Today’s grocery stores are loaded with high-end options that can help you get in touch with your inner ‘Top Chef’ and go gourmet, if you’re willing to spend the money.”

Which groups spend the most on food eaten at home? Unsurprisingly, those with kids in the household ($322) spend significantly more than those without kids in the household ($223). High earners also spend more than any other income group — those earning $200,000 or more annually spend an average of $312 a week on food prepared at home, while those earning less than $25,000 annually spend an average of $234 a week.

By age group, those between 40 and 54 years old spend an average of $298 a week on food prepared at home — significantly more than the $209 average consumers ages 65 and older spend.

Which states spend the most (and least) on food at home?

By state, those with the lowest household incomes tend to spend a higher percentage of their income on food. Consider Mississippi as an example. Households in the state make an average of $68,048 annually (the lowest in the U.S.) and spend an average of $264 a week on food at home — making up 20.2% of their income, the highest in the country.

Following that, West Virginia ranks second. While households earn $72,294 on average (the second-lowest in the U.S.), they spend an average of $273 a week on food at home, or 19.6% of their income. Third is Louisiana, where households spend an average of $271 a week on groceries. With households here making $75,590 on average, they spend 18.6% of their income on food at home.

On the other end of the spectrum, higher-income households tend to spend a lower percentage of their income on food. The District of Columbia falls at the bottom of the chart: While making an average of $138,856 annually (the highest in the U.S.), households in D.C. spend an average of $216 a week on food. That’s an average of 8.1% of their income. That’s followed by:

  • Massachusetts, where households make $124,789 on average and spend an average of $255 weekly on food (10.6%)
  • Connecticut, where households make $120,009 on average and spend an average of $257 weekly on food (11.1%)

Saving money at the grocery store: Top expert tips

For many, trips to the grocery store are increasingly painful on the pockets. Although food is increasingly expensive, Schulz says it doesn’t have to break the bank. To save on some cash the next time you’re shopping, he recommends the following:

  • Shop around. “It may be obvious and sound cliché, but it really, really matters,” Schulz says. “Taking the time to compare prices at different stores can make a real difference in your grocery budget. We tend to get very territorial about our favorite grocery stores, but the truth is that our favorite store around the corner may not have the best prices. Traveling a little further to another store may cost you some extra gas, but the savings at the grocery checkout counter can be worth it.”
  • Look at store-brand goods. “Chances are that your grocery store’s own brand is cheaper than other name brands and often just as good,” he says. “That won’t always be the case, but it’s worth looking into.”
  • Take advantage of credit card rewards. “If you’re not using a rewards credit card to buy your groceries, you’re leaving money on the table,” he says. “Plenty of cards offer extra rewards specifically for grocery spending. If a big portion of your monthly spending goes to groceries — and whose doesn’t? — you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t at least consider a grocery credit card.”

This article originally appeared on LendingTree and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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How much do groceries for one person cost in America?

How much do groceries for one person cost in America?

Everyone buys groceries, but how much should an individual or household spend on food each month? Food is the third largest expenditure for Americans, and for those looking to cut costs, it can be a place where reductions are possible with some planning and budgeting.

In 2020, Americans spent an average of 8.6% of their income on food, according to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Everyone is different when it comes to their personal food choices, household, and budget, so it’s difficult to come up with a goal amount for everyone’s monthly grocery bill. However, looking at averages across the country can help one figure out if they are within the range of other people in their region, age bracket, and household size.

Related: Does net worth include home equity?

RossHelen/ iStock

Inflation can have a big effect on the price of groceries, making it harder to stay within a budget and reduce one’s bill. Over the past year, the cost of groceries has increased by 10.8%. Some foods, such as meat, poultry, and eggs, have risen by 14.3%. This increase is partly due to inflation and partly due to food shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prostock-Studio/ iStock

There are several factors that determine how much a person might spend on groceries each month. These include age, gender, how many people live in the household, and monthly budget. Another major factor is the region one lives in. Some areas have much more expensive food than others.

The most expensive city for groceries is Honolulu, Hawaii, where the monthly average grocery bill is $556.76. The least expensive city is Manchester, New Hampshire with an average of $183.00, according to Move.org. Other expensive states include Vermont, Alaska, and New York, while less expensive states include Kansas, Idaho, and Utah.

In addition to groceries, one’s overall monthly bill for food includes any snacks and meals eaten out. The averages below are based on an individual or family cooking all their meals and snacks at home, they don’t include meals eaten out. Averages look at foods many people commonly purchase, such as eggs, dairy, meat, bread, and produce items.

Grocery bills usually cost $229-$419, depending on age and gender. Men and younger people have a higher average.

Prostock-Studio / iStock

For a household with two people, the average grocery bill doubles to $458-$838. If a household consists of one adult and one child their bill is likely less than a household with two adults.

Averages for children vastly vary depending on the age and gender of children, location, and budget. For each child under 12 added one can estimate an additional $143-$357 in their bill. If teenagers are in a household one can expect to add an additional $233-$344.


Averages for a family of four are based on two adults between the ages of 20-50, and two children, one aged 6-8 and one aged 9-11. The average grocery bill is $887 per month.


As briefly mentioned, in the past year, some foods have risen in cost more than others, due to issues in the supply chain. These include meat, fish, eggs, and poultry.

It’s up to each individual and family to decide how often to eat out or get takeout food and how much of their money to spend on dining at restaurants. In general, eating out tends to cost more than cooking at home, and it’s a good idea to keep track of and budget for or it can add up quickly. The USDA recommends spending about 4% to 5% per month on dining out. A couple ways to help save money on eating out are to pick up food instead of having it delivered, and to find discounts and loyalty programs for local restaurants.

In looking at the average grocery bills above, one might start to think that they are spending too much on groceries, if they didn’t already feel that way before. Here are a few tips for lowering one’s monthly grocery bill.


Allocating funds for groceries in a monthly budget planner then making a plan for what to buy can help reduce one’s grocery bill. Meal planning and shopping lists can help with sticking to the plan.


There are many discount apps and coupons available for those who are grocery shopping on a budget. They are free and can help with reducing one’s grocery bill. However, some coupons can be tricky and actually cause additional spending, if they ask one to purchase two or more of an item to get the discount or they result in buying an item that wouldn’t have been purchased otherwise.

Some stores also have sale days, especially after a big holiday, so those can be good days to go shopping.


Avoiding impulse buying is another way to reduce one’s grocery bill. Studies have shown that shopping on an empty stomach leads shoppers to spend more and to buy high calorie foods that may be less healthy.


Although meal kit services may appear expensive, and some are, if they reduce the amount that one eats out at restaurants or the amount spent on groceries, that is a plus. Meal kits provide pre-portioned meals, so they prevent buying extra ingredients that go to waste.

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Having groceries delivered can be a great way to save time, and since it can help with sticking to a plan and grocery list, it can also help prevent impulse buys. However, delivery fees and tips can add up, so it’s important to factor those into monthly budgeting.

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It can be easy to fall into a pattern of shopping at a certain grocery store due to convenience or their offering of foods one likes. But if that store has higher prices, it may be worth considering going to a different store for some or all of one’s groceries.


Another way to stay on top of grocery budgeting is to create routines. This can help with sticking to a shopping list and making sure extra food doesn’t get purchased.


Many stores carry their own brands of food that are cheaper than big name brands. These items are very similar in taste and quality but have a lower price point.

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It may seem surprising, but going to the grocery store more often can help people spend less money than if they go on mega runs. The reason is that it avoids food waste because it’s easier to think about what will be eaten within the next few days than the next couple weeks.


How much should you be spending on groceries a week?

The average cost of groceries for U.S. households is $102 per week. This varies greatly by location, age, and number of people in one’s household.

What is the average cost of groceries per month?

The average cost of groceries for U.S. households is $411 per month.

Examples of Popular Discounted Grocery Stores

Popular discounted grocery stores include Walmart, Smart & Final, Sam’s Club, and Trader Joe’s.


Since there is more flexibility in buying groceries than other expenses such as rent and other bills, cutting back on grocery spending can be a great way to save. 

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This article originally appeared on SoFi.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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