WASHINGTON – Shoppers are paying between 35 percent to 39 percent more for groceries than they did a decade ago.
A look at the numbers from the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds a family of four with two school-aged children is paying between $40 to $81 more per week, depending on their budgets.
Those families with the ability to spend the most on groceries and who include more expensive cuts of meat and seafood in their diets are paying $81 more a week — or 39 percent more.
Families in the middle of the spectrum are paying 38 percent more. This year’s cost of $239 a week compares with $173 in March 2003.
A family of four who buys the lowest-cost fruits and vegetables paid $191 in March, compared with $139 a decade ago — a 37 percent increase.
For a family using the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps, the weekly cost of groceries in March was $146.40 a week, compared with $107.80 in March 2003 and $86.30 in March 1994, according to the USDA. That’s nearly $40 more or a 35 percent increase in 10 years.
Feeding a family of 4
March 2013 Food Costs
March 2003 Food Costs
March 1994 Food Costs
The USDA numbers factor in some food waste, but don’t include eating out.