Myth: Meat costs a lot more than it used to
Much has been made in recent years about rising meat prices, and from a short term perspective, prices have gone up a bit because of the recent drought and other factors contributing to higher corn prices such as ethanol policy. But if you look at prices over the last 25 years, it tells a different story. In 1980, we spent 31 percent of our grocery budget on meat, today that number is closer to 21 percent.1
Overall in the United States, we spend just six percent of our disposable income on food.2 In Europe the number is closer to 10 percent and in developing countries it can be as high as 45 percent or more.
The lower cost of meat and poultry in the U.S. has to do with our well-developed, efficient meat and poultry production system. Today we are able to raise animals that produce more meat than ever before and processing facilities have improved their efficiency and reduced waste.
The low cost of food in the U.S. provides Americans flexibility to use their income in a variety of ways whether its to buy a home, join a gym or get the newest electronics. While meat and poultry cost less here than in other nations, Americans, on average, eat the recommended amount of meat and poultry, according to federal nutrition data.