Spectrum News: Americans spend more at restaurants than on groceries

UC economist says prices, end of pandemic contribute to shifts in spending

Americans spent more money at restaurants than at grocery stores in 2022, which partially can be attributed to rising food prices, a University of Cincinnati economist told Spectrum News.

Erhardt, Erwin3

Erwin Erhardt

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent 20% more at restaurants than on groceries last year. With grocery prices up 8% compared to a year ago, some people have decided to spend less on groceries and opt for the convenience of take out or deliveries.

“It is a surprise in a way given the cost of food, but a trip to the grocery store has honestly gotten very expensive,” said Erwin Erhardt, PhD, an associate professor-educator of economics at UC's Carl H. Lindner College of Business.

Beyond the economics, Erhardt said, people wanting to socialize more following the COVID-19 pandemic also plays a role in the increased spending at restaurants.

“People are reconnecting, getting back out in some cases with people they haven’t seen in three years and I think once you break through and start doing that again you start enjoy going out again and I think that’s what’s going on,” he said.

See more from Spectrum News.

Featured image at top: People eat together at a restaurant. Photo by Alex Haney on Unsplash

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