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A Decade of Grocery Prices for 30 Common Items

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A Decade of Grocery Prices for 30 Common Items

A Decade of Grocery Prices for 30 Common Items

Over the span of 2000-2016, the amount of money spent on food by the average American household increased from $5,158 to $7,203, which is a 39.6% increase in spending.

Despite this, for most of the U.S. population, food actually makes up a decreasing portion of their household spending mix because of rising incomes over time. Just 13.1% of income was spent on food by the average household in 2016, making it a less important cost than both housing and transportation.

That said, fluctuations in food prices can still make a major impact on the population. For lower income households, food makes up a much higher percentage of incomes at 32.6% – and how individual foods change in price can make a big difference at the dinner table.

Fluctuating Grocery Prices

Today’s infographic comes from TitleMax, and it uses data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to show the prices for 30 common grocery staples over the last decade.

We’ve summarized the statistics in the following table to show the grocery prices in 2007 and 2017, as well as the total percentage change.

Grocery item2007 price2017 price% Change
Sliced bacon$3.66$5.7958.2%
Pasta$0.88$1.2845.5%
Dried beans$0.94$1.3644.7%
Ground beef$2.85$4.1244.6%
All-purpose flour$0.36$0.5244.4%
Creamy peanut butter$1.79$2.5643.0%
Top round steak$4.11$5.7840.6%
Potatoes$0.52$0.7238.5%
Frozen turkey$1.15$1.5938.3%
Sirloin steak$5.97$8.0735.2%
White rice$0.55$0.7230.9%
Chocolate chip cookies$2.70$3.4728.5%
Seedless grapes$2.09$2.6727.8%
Sugar$0.51$0.6527.5%
Ice cream$3.95$4.7019.0%
Wheat bread$1.71$1.9916.4%
Red delicious apples$1.12$1.2915.2%
Tomatoes$1.65$1.9015.2%
Broccoli$1.59$1.8113.8%
White bread$1.20$1.3411.7%
American cheese$3.84$4.2811.5%
Salted butter$3.07$3.3810.1%
Bananas$0.51$0.569.8%
Lemons$1.86$2.018.1%
Boneless pork chop$3.60$3.826.1%
Navel oranges$1.28$1.333.9%
Strawberries$2.20$2.210.5%
Boneless chicken breast$3.43$3.21-6.4%
Whole milk$3.50$3.24-7.4%
Eggs$1.68$1.43-14.9%

Only prices of three items fell: chicken breasts (-6.4%), whole milk (-7.4%), and eggs (-14.9%).

However, the average price increase for all items was 22%, buoyed especially by meats like bacon (58.2%), ground beef (44.6%), top round steak (40.6%), frozen turkey (38.3%) and sirloin steak (35.2%).

The Future of Food

As we’ve previously noted, technology is being applied to agriculture and food in really interesting ways – and the future of food could be very different than what we see today.

How will the grocery prices of everyday staples be affected by growth in automated vertical farms, aquaponics, in vitro meats, and artificial animal products?

With shifting consumer preferences towards more local and sustainable products, it will be interesting to revisit this data in the coming years.

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Environment

Mapped: How Much of the World is Covered by Croplands?

Where are the world’s croplands located? This detailed map highlights the world’s cropland cover as of 2019.

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Detailed map of the world’s cropland cover as of 2019.

Mapping Cropland Cover Around the World

Over the last 50 years, the world’s human population worldwide has grown exponentially.

And this population explosion brought greater food production needs with it, through livestock breeding, cropland expansion, and other increases in land use.

But how evenly is this land distributed globally? In this graphic, Adam Symington maps global croplands as of 2019, based on a 2021 scientific paper published in Nature by Peter Potapov et al.

The World’s Croplands

Croplands are defined as land areas used to cultivate herbaceous crops for human consumption, forage, and biofuel. At the start of the 21st century, the world’s croplands spread across 1,142 million hectares (Mha) of land.

Some of these croplands have since been abandoned, lost in natural disasters, or repurposed for housing, irrigation, and other infrastructural needs.

Despite this, the creation of new croplands increased overall cropland cover by around 9% and the net primary (crop) production by 25%.

Africa and South America Lead Croplands Expansion

In 2019, croplands occupied 1,244 Mha of land worldwide, with the largest regions being Europe and North Asia and Southwest Asia at around 20% of total cover each.

Interestingly, even though Africa (17%) and South America (9%) held lower percentages of the world’s croplands, they saw the highest expansion in croplands since 2000:

RegionCropland Area
(Mha, 2000–03)
Cropland Area
(Mha, 2016–19)
Change (Mha)
Africa155.1208.3+53.2
South America75.5112.6+37.1
Southwest Asia237.3244.8+7.5
Australia and New Zealand37.340.3+3.0
North and Central America192.1193.9+1.8
Europe and North Asia252.3253.2+0.9
Southeast Asia192.7191.1-1.6
World1,142.31,244.2+101.9

South American nations including Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay witnessed a steep rise in crop production between 2000 and 2007. Agricultural growth in the region can be attributed to both modern agricultural technology adoption and the production of globally demanded crops like soybeans.

A similar expansion in croplands within Sub-Saharan African countries at the start of the 21st century continues to persist today, as producers ramp up crop production for both exports and to try and alleviate food scarcity.

Much of these the world’s croplands were once forests, drylands, plains, and lowlands. And this loss in green cover is clearly seen across Africa, South America, and parts of Asia.

However, some regions have also witnessed tree plantations, orchards, and aquaculture replacing former croplands. One such example is Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, and indeed Southeast Asia was the only region that saw an overall decline in cropland cover from 2000 to 2019.

Moving Towards Sustainable Agriculture

The expansion of croplands has also come at a cost, destroying large stretches of forest cover, and further contributing to wildlife fragmentation and greenhouse gas emissions.

However, hope for more sustainable development is not lost. Nations are finding ways to improve agricultural productivity in ways that free up land.

As global demand for food continues to increase, agricultural expansion and intensification seem imminent. But innovation, and a changing climate, may elevate alternative solutions in the future.

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