USDA Average Food Costs for Families

How much is your grocery bill each week?  As you might has guessed, the average price for food has crept up a bit each year, with USDA-estimated costs for feeding your family at least a couple of dollars more each week than it was a couple of years ago.


The United States Department of Agriculture keeps tabs on average prices for all food categories, then figures this in, along with dietary guidance and consumption patterns, to come up with its food plans.

The Thrifty Plan by the USDA shows the maximum amount given in food assistance, which is $147.70 per week for a family of four with children up to 11 years old.

In contrast, the USDA’s Moderate Cost Plan estimates a family of four could spend $241.80 per week on food.

Since dietary guidelines today  encourage that you fill at least half your plate with vegetables and fruits, along with promoting whole grains and even seafood twice per week, these average costs reflect a diet richer in whole foods with fewer highly processed foods than perhaps the average American eats.  The averages do include some room for processed grocery store items, such as frozen or boxed food items that require minimal preparation.

Here’s a look at the Official USDA Food Plans published in January 2014.