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 $1 per dozen) is about 1/10 of the price 100 years ago ($10 per dozen in today's dollars), a decline of 90% 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. 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 2008. Food expenditures as a percent of disposable income were in double-digits for the entire 20th century, and were above 20% for most of the 1929-1952 period. It's only been since 2000 that spending on food has fallen below 10% of disposable income, and it reached an all-time historical low of 9.6% in 2008.
And compared to other countries, Americans are the luckiest consumers on the planet when it comes to the affordability of food, measured as a share of income (data here). Most European consumers spend twice as much on food consumed at home as a share of income (e.g. 13.7% in France, 14.5% in Italy) as Americans (5.7%), and consumers in Mexico (24.2%), Chile (23.4%) and Brazil (24.6%) spend about three times as much as we do.Happy Easter, enjoy your cheap eggs and food and be thankful for your status as one of the luckiest consumers in the world.