Average Food Cost per Month – In-Depth Analysis and Trends
Americans’ monthly grocery expenditure varies drastically and depends on factors like age, state, and budgeting. The average food cost per month can be a few hundred dollars for singles and over $1,300 for families. Consumers with a liberal food spending plan pay double what those with frugal spending habits do. Having children significantly increases the cost of groceries per month, while adult men tend to spend the most on food. Even though the US has a considerable monthly food cost for 1, it’s not the most expensive destination. Hong Kong has the highest food expenditures per capita worldwide of over $5,000.
Average Food Spending by State
Residents in Mississippi and residents in Hawaii don’t have the same average cost of groceries per month. Hawaii is, in fact, one of the three states with the highest average grocery bill for 1 person in the US. Every state has a different grocery cost index and food cost range.
Average Food Cost Index
Below, you can find the grocery cost index and respective ranking for all the states plus DC and Puerto Rico for Q3 2020. This table shows that Texas has the lowest average grocery cost for 1 stateside. The US average food cost index here is 100. You can use this to see what states have average grocery cost per month higher than the national average.
Annual Food Cost by State
The average food cost per month in California goes between $233 and $266. In Alaska, in contrast, residents spend between $300 and $333 on food. Alaska is also among the US states with the highest average cost of eating out. Yet, no state comes near the food expenditure of residents of Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont.
The cost of food for 1 person in the US goes from $2,400 to over $4,000 a year. Below, we have categorized the annual food expenditures in every state, including DC. To discover the average food cost per month for 1, just divide the yearly expenditure by 12.
These figures show that the lowest average monthly cost of groceries by state ranges from $200 to $233. People living in New Mexico, Alabama, and Indiana are among those who spend the least on food. Only five states have an average food budget for 1 of over $3,601 a year. The latest grocery shopping statistics show that Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont are the most expensive states in this category, with their residents spending over $4,001 on food per year.
About 20 jurisdictions, including Kansas, Rhode Island, and Florida, pay between $2,801 and $3,200 annually. The average cost of groceries per month in Texas and all the other states in this group goes between $266 and $300.
Average Food Expenditures by Product
In the United States, the monthly cost of feeding one person is about $342.50. The average cost of food per day per person is $11.05. These are the insights provided by NUMBEO and their overview of food and other expenditures worldwide. Their data suggests that the average cost of food per week for 1 person is $77.35. The average cost per person per month grows depending on the consumers’ spending habits and location.
In the table below, we listed the minimum single person food budget in the US and several select cities. Note that these figures apply to the minimum daily amount spent on food and groceries. The chosen products provide 2,400 calories and represent Western food types. Asian food type products are cheaper, with people spending an average of $271.38 a month on such food. Meaning, they fork out about $71.12 less than the average amount spent on groceries per month for 1 for Western food types.
These details suggest that the minimum average food cost per month for 2 adults is $685. Meaning, an average family of two spends about $8,220 a year. Yet, these figures don’t apply to all US cities and states. In the table above, we also compared the food expenditures in selected destinations to see how the costs vary.
In Austin, Texas, residents spend a minimum of $9.88 a day and $306.42 a month on food. That’s not surprising as Texas is among the cheapest states to live in. Our data on the average cost of gas per month shows that Texas excels in this category, as well.
Honolulu, Hawaii, by contrast, has the highest average monthly food cost for 1 of $512.41, while the daily cost is $16.53. The price difference in the minimum monthly food expenditure between Austin and Honolulu is an impressive $205.99. If Texans spend $3,677.04 annually and Hawaiians $6,148.92, the latter fork out nearly $2,480 more per year.
Jackson, Mississippi, and Seattle, Washington, also have higher food expenditure than the national average. Residents of these states spend $425.14 and $410.57 on food per month.
Monthly Food Price for Organic Food
The average cost of organic food per month is higher than purchasing regular products. Depending on the product, the price difference ranges from 0% to a stunning 196%. Getting regular dozen large brown eggs at Harris Teeter costs $2.19. Getting the same product but organic costs $6.49 at the same store. Organic beef at Amazon Fresh is about 75% more expensive, while organic apples cost 20% more.
What you pay for organic food depends on how much groceries you purchase and where you purchase them. Online reports suggest that the average cost of food per month for 2 is about $260 cheaper when not organic. If a family of two shops regular products at Safeway, they can expect to spend about $136 a week or $544 a month. Getting organic products costs about $199 a week or $796 a month.
Average Food Spending by Age
The USDA publishes detailed reports on the average cost of groceries per month. In its September 2020 report, expenses are categorized into four spending plans as not every person has the same budget.
The average grocery bill between the thrifty and the liberal spending plans is quite significant. Feeding a child aged 9-11 on an economical plan cost $163.40, while the liberal plan was $327.70. Meaning, the food cost per month for a child aged 9-11 was by 100.55% higher in families with a liberal food budget.
The average cost of groceries per month for 1 adult was the highest among men aged 19-50. This group of customers spent between $193.70 (thrifty) and $384.90 (liberal). Women from the same age group have a lower average grocery bill for 1 person per month. Their costs ranged from $171.90 to $341.20 in September 2020. Feeding children of about 12 months cost families between $99.10 and $182.60 per month. The average grocery bill per month of $99.10 was also the cheapest compared to all other food expenditures by age.
It’s interesting to compare these costs with the average cost of dog food per month, which ranges from $20.83 to $58.33. Feeding two large and healthy dogs can cost owners more than buying food for a 1-year old. The average clothing cost per month among American adults is $161 or close to feeding a child aged 9-11.
The table below shows the average food cost per month by age for different budget plans. These figures are from the latest USDA report on food expenses in the United States.
Average Monthly Food Expenditure for US Families
How much families spend depends on whether they have kids and how many they are. Again, the age of everyone in the household affects the final cost of groceries per month. The lowest average cost of groceries per month for 2 in September 2020 was $381.90.
This amount applies to families with a thrifty spending plan whose members are aged 51-70. If the family has two members aged 19-50, then the cheapest food expenses are a bit over $400. The situation was different among families of two having a liberal spending budget. Such families with members aged 19-50 and 51-70 spent $798.70 and $743.80. The price difference between the thrifty and the liberal spending plan here is a stunning 98.58%.
The average food cost per month for 4 also depended on the age of all family members. A family of two adults aged 19-50 and two kids aged 2-3 and 4-5 spent between $587.40 and $1,144.40. To get the average grocery bill for a family of 3, just remove the monthly food budget for 1 from the calculations. For instance, if we remove one child aged 2-3 from the frugal spending plan, the result would be $479.40. The average cost of groceries per month for a family of 4 is higher if the children are older. Families with kids aged 6-8 and 9-11 spent between $673.60 and $1,339.80 a month on food.
Average Food Spending by Year
The average food cost per month in the United States has been moderately growing over the years. For example, the average grocery bill for 1 adult female jumped by 4.50% between September 2016 and September 2020.
The largest five-year increase in the average monthly grocery bill was seen among children aged 9-11. In September 2016, the food expenses per month for a kid within that age range was $266.60. Five years later, feeding a child aged 9-11 cost $281.80 or 5.70% more.
Families of two adults needed an average grocery budget of $639.50 per month in September 2020. The average cost of food per month for a family of 4 was the highest at $1,106.40.
In the table below, we included the monthly food cost between September 2016 and September 2020. These figures are based on the USDA reports on a moderate-cost food budget for different types of consumers.
If we compare the average cost of food per month in 2010 and 2020, the increase is even more significant. Namely, the average grocery bill for a family of 4 in 2010 was $945 or by 16.95% lower than in 2020. The increase in the average monthly grocery bill for 1 adult female was 15.79%, from $230.50 to the latest $266.90. All these figures reveal a slow but steady upward trend.
Food Spending Across the World
While the US average monthly food cost seems high, the country isn’t even among the top 10 by food expenditure per capita. Knoema’s 2018 stats show that Hong Kong had the highest costs on food per capita at $5,000.2. Switzerland, Norway, and Israel came in next with per capita food expenses of $3,908, $3,726, and $3,611. Other countries with exceptionally high food costs per capita were Japan ($3,611), New Zealand ($3,277), and Denmark ($3,220).
The US earned the 15th position by food spending per capita at $2,626. The average food cost per month in Canada was about $214 per person, while the per capita food was $2,350. This average earned the country the 22nd position on the list. Australia ranked high and was among the 10 countries with the highest food expenditures. In 2018, Australians spent $3,003 per capita. As for European countries, Belgium and Italy were two other destinations with high per capita food costs of $3,034 and $2,986.
The United Kingdom took the 26th position. Consumers in the country spent $2,168 on food costs per capita. The average food cost per month in the UK is about £167 per person.
Find Your Food Spending Balance
The monthly food budget for 1 person in the United States ranges from under $100 to several hundreds of dollars. Various factors affect how much a person or a family spends on groceries every month. The state where you live alongside your age and spending habits are the three essential elements of determining your food costs. Incorporating a frugal spending plan can decrease your average food cost per month by nearly 50%. Moving to a cheaper state is another step that can help you spend less on groceries and food.