Political bias influences how Americans feel about food inflation: study

Political bias influences how Americans feel about food inflation: study

Inflation is hitting groceries hard and crushing budgets of millions, yet not everyone complains about prices being equally high. a New study She revealed that how Americans feel about food price inflation depends on their political views.

A survey by Purdue University’s Center for the Analysis of Food Demand and Sustainability found that liberals and conservatives have different perceptions of rising costs. Liberals are very optimistic about food price inflation, according to the survey of 1,200 people from across the United States.

Compared to the Conservatives, the Liberals say they have seen less food price increases over the past year, and they expect less food price inflation in the future.

It is interesting to note “the divergent perceptions of food inflation between liberals and conservatives,” according to Jason Lask, chair and distinguished professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University, who leads the center.

“Not only are liberals aggressively underestimating the increase in food prices from last year, but they are also likely to overstate conservatives’ forecasts for rate inflation for next year — at least compared to the USDA’s forecast,” Lask said in a statement.

However, conservatives and liberals share some common ground when it comes to spending. Consumers reported spending an average of $114 per week on groceries and $67 per week on restaurants and fast food. According to the study, spending on food is nearly identical across the political spectrum. Liberals, however, put food inflation lower than conservatives by about three to four percentage points.

For example, based on survey data collected between January and August, Liberals believe food inflation has been 6 percent over the past 12 months, compared to conservatives who say 9 percent. In addition, Liberals believe that food prices will rise by 3 percent over the next 12 months, while conservatives believe they will rise by 7 percent.

Both liberals and conservatives miss inflation

These expectations are much lower than the latest official figures. The August inflation report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on September 13 showed that the food index rose at an annual rate of 11.4 percent. Grocery store prices jumped 13.5 percent year over year, while food fares are up 8 percent. Overall, the Food Index experienced its largest annual increase since 1979.

Americans are beginning to feel the effects of the surge in farming costs this year. Fertilizer prices have risen due to rising input costs and supply disruptions due to the conflict in Ukraine. Fertilizer prices are expected to rise further as factory closures in Europe slashed global supplies, adding to pressure on food costs.

As a result, while Americans are seeing lower prices at the gas pump, they don’t get the same comfort in food and other areas. Almost everything outside of the Energy Index has been up across the board last month.

High inflation has also increased the demand for food aid. The Purdue poll revealed that 25 percent of self-identified liberals reported getting free groceries from a pantry or food bank, compared to 18 percent of moderates and 16 percent of conservatives.

In addition, liberals care most about the social and environmental sustainability of their food. And there is significant disagreement over whether “eating less meat is better for the environment,” according to the survey. Liberals are about twice as likely to identify as vegetarians or vegans than moderates and conservatives.

According to the survey, conservatives are less likely to rely on the Food and Drug Administration, the New York Times, CNN, or academic institutions when searching for information about food, instead preferring traditional sources such as family, doctors, friends and the department. Agriculture.

Moreover, when shoppers were asked to choose the three biggest budget stresses, shoppers reported food costs as the highest, followed by gas and rent/mortgage. The arrangement emphasizes the important role food plays in family budgets. It also explains why food price inflation has been widely discussed over the past year.

“We have no prior data to show whether this is a recent phenomenon given the high price environment,” said Sam Polzin, the center’s food and agricultural survey scientist and co-author of the report. “But as consumers continue to make changes to their shopping to adjust to prices, this highlights that food is one of the first essential items to come under budget pressure.”


Emile Akan writes about business and economics. Previously, she worked in the financial sector as an investment banker at JPMorgan. She graduated with a Masters in Business Administration from Georgetown University.

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