Will food price inflation lead to Americans becoming vegetarians?

Price inflation is running rampant across the United States, particularly when it comes to food. What’s interesting is that not only are packages of some of our favorite grocery products shrinking, but the prices themselves are increasing at a fantastic rate – though not as quickly as other parts of the globe.

According to the Economic Research Services (ERS) of the USDA, food, food-at-home and food-away-from-home consumer price index will rise between 2.5 and 3.5 percent. Although the USDA says this normal, for the average household this is a hefty increase, especially with the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and paucity of full-time jobs.

For shoppers across the country, one price-tag shocker will be the meats. Bloomberg News reports that beef prices are projected to rise throughout 2014 because production is slated to drop to an 11-year low. How much will beef prices rise? The government projects it will increase 3.5 percent this year.

Due to the high prices of beef, consumers are turning to chicken because prices have dropped, increased production being one of the factors. For the first time in a century, Americans are consuming more chicken than beef as well as pork and turkey, reports Priceonomics. Consumers are making the shift not just for financial reasons but also to improve their health since red meat has been attributed to heart disease and diabetes.

Despite chicken prices expected to fall this year, costs have been steadily rising over the past few years. Meanwhile, pork prices have been on the rise for the past two years. With all of this price inflation will Americans eventually become vegetarians?

A 2012 Gallup poll found that five percent of Americans consider themselves vegetarians and only two percent say they are vegans. Indeed, this is a very small number, but since Americans are becoming more health conscious and tightening their budgets, vegetarianism is perhaps the next step in the next couple of generations.

It is indeed difficult becoming a vegetarian since we have become accustomed to so many of our favorites: hamburgers, hot dogs, pulled pork sandwiches, BBQ ribs and so many others. There are tofu alternatives, but it’s just not the same – plus tofu is very processed, though it’s very cheap, and is just as bad as a processed Kraft single slice of cheese.

Regardless, maintaining a vegetarian diet can improve your health in the long-term and perhaps even boost the amount of money in your wallet. If food prices continue to soar, will you cut down the amount of meat you consume?

Like this article? Get ECN delivered to your inbox daily. Subscribe here.


  1. So many of the foods have gone up so much, and the amounts gone down. What is bad, most people don’t realize the real changes just in the last year. Everything has gone up, and OBAMI – says 1% to retired people, while everything has gone up 25- 38%. He’s crazy… And the US People are in trouble and most don’t know it. Vic

Leave a Comment