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How much do Americans spend on food on average every day?

The share of income Americans spend on food has risen in recent years approaching 1980 levels. As the second biggest expense, how much is spent per day?

Americans’ spending on food second only to shelter

Americans had been spending a lower share of their disposable income on food over five decades until around 2010 when it began to tick up again slightly. The disruptions of the covid-19 pandemic along with other factors that make food prices volatile helped push the cost of food up faster than the historical trend of a two percent rise every year.

This aided in the sharpest annual increase in the portion of income households dedicated to total food purchases, both at home and eating out, jumping to 12.7 percent in 2022 according to the US Department of Agriculture. The portion of income that households are doling out on groceries and at restaurants is reaching levels comparable to the 1980s.

So just how much do Americans spend on food each day?

How much do Americans spend on food on average every day?

According to an analysis by Sunmark Credit Union, it showed that total food expenses combined, groceries and eating out, were second only to housing, either paying rent or owning a home. On average Americans of all ages per day spend $11.95 on groceries and another $9.22 on eating out for a total of $21.17. That’s compared to $32.59 for housing, $10.51 going to utilities, $9.35 on health insurance and $8.78 spent on entertainment.

In total, Sunmark found that Americans on average shell out around $165 per day for all expenses combined. Their smallest expenses overall were on alcohol, pets and vehicle insurance.

Housing (Rent/Homeownership)$32.59
Total Food$21.17
*Eating Out$9.22
Health Insurance$9.35
Charitable Donations$5.13
Cellphone Service$3.06
Vehicle Insurance$2.65

However, not all Americans spend the same amount on food. As might be expected, those with higher incomes spend more on food, however, as a share of their income it is smaller.

The lowest income bracket in 2022 spent on average over $5,000 per year on food which represented over 31 percent of their income according to USDA data. At the other end, the highest income quintile of households that same year spent an average of more than $15,700, but that was just 8 percent of their disposable income.

Age groupGroceriesEating out
Under 25 years old (Gen Zers)$6.57$6.47
25-34 years old (Millennials)$10.89$9.36
35-44 years old (younger Gen Xers)$14.05$11.64
45-54 years old (older Gen Xers)$14.01$11.39
55-64 years old (younger Baby Boomers)$12.78$8.85
65 and older (older Baby Boomers)$10.45$6.88

Sunmark analysis broke down the spending by age groups as well. Young Gen Xers are currently forking out the most on both groceries and eating out, followed by older Gen Xers, the combined cohort is between the ages of 35 to 54.