Happy Easter: Enjoy the Cheap Eggs and Food!
The chart above shows the real, inflation-adjusted wholesale prices of eggs (in 2009 dollars), annually back to 1890. The wholesale price we're paying today for eggs (about 82 cents) is about 1/12 of the price 100 years ago ($10.50 in 1908 in today's dollars), a decline of 92% compared to the price American consumers paid in the early 1900s.
And it's not just egg prices that have fallen over the last 100 years. Grocery prices in general fell in real price by 82% between 1919 and 2007, measured in the number of hours worked (9.5 to 1.7 hours, another way to adjust for inflation) to purchase a 12-item basket of groceries, according to the Dallas Fed (see graph below).
And food (both at home and away from home) as a share of disposable income has never been more affordable, see the chart below using USDA data through 2007. Food expenditures as a percent of income were in double-digits for the entire 20th century, and were above 20% for most of the 1929-1952 period. It's only since 2000 that spending on food has fallen below 10% of disposable income, and it's been 9.8% for 2005, 2006 and 2007.