Just the other day I was talking with a family friend when she mentioned about growing prices of food. To be fair even though food prices are going up, food expenditure as percentage share of disposable personal income is not. Consider below line graph based on data from USDA (table#7).

As you can see percentage share of our income spent on food has seen downward trend over the years. Spending on eating out has gone up little bit but still sum of food at home and food away from home is trending downwards. From 23.4% in 1929 to 9.8% in 2011.

To be clear, disposable personal income includes any government help (food stamps, medical care etc) so as supplements to wages and salaries. Supplement to wages and salaries includes employers share for medical care, social security etc. Will the graph look different if we exclude such income? See below the line graph with data again from USDA (table#8).

Very similar trend. It appears that food prices are contained over the years which explains why food expenditures as percentage share of income trending downwards. Reasons include industrialization of farming, technological advancement in agriculture, controversial agriculture subsidy and so on. Whatever may be the reason, one thing is sure that larger percentage of our paycheck now goes towards satisfying needs and wants beyond food.