If you type “rising food prices” into Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) search engine, you’ll find myriad articles about high food costs. However, according to a new report from National Public Radio‘s blog Planet Money, Americans actually spend less money on groceries today than they did 30 years ago. That is, if you use 2012 dollars to adjust for inflation.
Americans are actually spending more money today on only a few items, on this basis. Prices on flour and breads, for instance, have increased since 1982.
Here are a few highlights from the report:
- On average, bananas cost 82 cents per pound in 1982, in 2012 dollars. They cost about 60 cents per pound today.
- Butter runs about $3.18 a pound. In 1982, it cost about $4.88 per pound, adjusted to today’s dollar.
- Restructuring in the poultry, pork and beef industries have led to greater efficiency and lower prices. However, it’s worth noting that the increased interest in purchasing meat from humanely raised animals could lead to additional changes in the meat industry.
- In 1982, premium ice cream cost around $5.21 per half-gallon in 2012 dollars. Thirty years later, it still costs slightly north of five bucks.