Poll: 85% of New Yorkers Say Grocery Costs Are Rising Faster than Their Income

File - A food shopper pushes a cart of groceries at a supermarket in Bellflower, Calif., o
Allison Dinner, File/AP

A whopping 85 percent of New Yorkers say that the cost of food is rising faster than their income in a poll conducted amid the grocery affordability crisis.

The poll, released by No Kid Hungry New York on Tuesday, also found that nearly half — 47 percent — of respondents are having a “much harder” time affording food.

A significant chunk of people have altered their shopping habits due to price inflation, with 51 percent going to a less convenient store because it was cheaper and 26 percent spending more than 30 minutes searching for coupons and discounts.

The choices consumers are making have changed as well, with over half of the respondents saying they’ve purchased less protein — or none at all — to be able to afford groceries, and just under half saying they bought less or no fresh produce.

People are also buying more “fillers” such as rice to make the protein and produce they do buy stretch further, the survey found.

A depressing 58 percent of adults in the state reported feeling more stressed about affording enough nutritious food for themselves and their families compared to this time in 2023. 

“I mean, you want to eat healthy, you know, and you want to be able to be healthy. But unfortunately, the economy is not allowing for that,” East Harlem resident Jose Munoz told WABC. 

“It doesn’t matter if they make $30,000 or $100,000. This is something felt by New Yorkers of all incomes,” said Rachel Sabella, Director of No Kid Hungry New York.

Basic groceries like cereal, baked goods, poultry, fish, and eggs have increased by about 25 percent, and New Yorkers have found it difficult to keep up. 

“Eggs. Like there was like a short reprieve on the price of eggs. And now all of a sudden, they’re skyrocketing,” Munoz said.

The prices of fruits and vegetables — quite necessary for balanced diets — are up 16 percent, making it hard for bigger families to feed their children adequate nutrients.

The poll found that school-aged children in rural areas of New York are suffering the most, with 87 percent of parents saying their incomes have not been able to support the increasing cost of groceries.

“When children start the day with a nutritious breakfast, when they have that protein, they grow stronger,” Sabella said. “They have higher attendance rates. They do better in school on exams, but they also have less chronic health issues.”

While Joe Biden’s reelection campaign has reluctantly admitted that “food prices are up,” they have argued that the price of medicine is down and more jobs have been created.

During a February broadcast of NewsNation’s “Cuomo,” host Chris Cuomo questioned Biden campaign co-chair Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) on the issue.

“The counterargument is, no, I’m getting killed at the grocery store, Congressman, I’m getting killed at the grocery store on Biden’s watch,” Cuomo said. “I’m getting killed with inflation. And, on the culture side, half your party is crazy.

“And I feel that so much — that I believe I can pick off some of these black female 40s, 50s, culturally conservative voters that feel there has not been delivery for too long on the Democratic watch,” the host said. “Do you think there’s any chance that that happens? And if so, can you still win?”

Clyburn responded: “I don’t think that’s going to happen, simply because I don’t think the facts are being discussed properly.”

“Let me give you one you just mentioned. Yes, food prices are up, but the price of medicine is way down,” the congressman argued. 

“… So, if you look at the total picture, then you’ve got to look, we’re getting jobs we’ve never had before, black unemployment is at the lowest it’s been in over 40 years. That’s a fact,” Clyburn continued, before citing infrastructure improvements as another Biden success. 

“Everywhere you go in South Carolina today, and Joe Biden didn’t carry South Carolina, but South Carolina has benefited big time from Joe Biden’s policies and they know it. Every highway that I cross these days [has] got work being done. The bridges are being repaired and we are seeing jobs being created.”


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