19 Percent of Americans Have Cut Grocery Spending Due to Inflation: Survey

By Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully
Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.
May 5, 2022 Updated: May 5, 2022

Americans restricted their spending activities in the first quarter of 2022 amidst a rise in inflation according to American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC).

Over 93 percent of respondents to ACCC’s first quarter Financial Health Index survey admitted that they were impacted by the rising cost of commodities, an April 25 press release said. While 19 percent have scaled down their grocery budgets, over 30 percent cut down fuel expenses. A third said they reduced spending on entertainment, while almost half have postponed or modified vacation and travel plans.

“This surge in costs across just about every category of consumer goods is a significant burden on American households,” said Allen Amadin, president and CEO of ACCC.

“Discretionary spending is generally the first thing to be curbed during times of financial crisis,” Amadin said. “When people are forced to buy fewer groceries or change their commuting habits, we have entered an entirely new level of challenge.”

Twelve-month U.S. inflation accelerated to 8.5 percent in March 2022, the biggest such increase since December 1981. The cost of fuel oil rose by over 70 percent, gasoline by 48 percent, and food prices by 8.8 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is predicting the Consumer Price Index for all food will increase by 5 to 6 percent in 2022, which, if true, will be much higher than the 3.9 percent hike in 2021, 3.4 percent hike in 2020, and 1.9 percent hike in 2019.

In the ACCC survey, almost 60 percent of the respondents said they were either “not confident at all” or “not so confident” in the American economy. With regard to debt, 40 percent of respondents remained confident they could reduce their household debt by at least 10 percent over the next six months.

The survey was conducted in March among 416 respondents between the ages of 25 and 65 with an annual income of $100,000 or less.

Rising prices have also triggered a change in consumer buying behavior, with shoppers purchasing smaller packages of their favorite items, said Sally Lyons Wyatt, executive vice president of client insights at IRI, in a recent webinar, according to Baking & Snack.

“The reason you’re starting to see this wheel of growth across sizes is some consumers can only afford that smaller pack size to get their favorite brands or favorite products,” she said. “They might not be able to afford the larger size.”

Naveen Athrappully is a news reporter covering business and world events at The Epoch Times.