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Consumers are also saving by substituting, buying the store brand over the national brand, but even with that change, the practical effect is still less-full pantries overall. According to research from Forbes, over half of respondents—51%—say they are buying fewer non-essential groceries, and 39% are buying fewer groceries altogether. Some 46% of respondents are using leftovers more often in an attempt to reduce food waste. Meanwhile, 49% are cooking more meals at home instead of ordering takeout, and 62% say they are dining out less frequently.

Even with these measures consumers still must spend on essentials, and we chose to highlight groceries because some of those items are getting hit with higher inflation than what is being measured by the overall level. For instance, a grocery cart of chicken, soda, toilet paper, bread, milk, coffee, cereal, rice, pasta, butter, apples, and bananas costs 14% more in October 2022 compared to a year earlier, whereas the overall inflation number is less than 8% year over year.

Many economic principles show direct relationships. When one factor increases, another decreases, and so on. The cost of food is one area where a negative impact on individual consumers may actually have a positive impact on the overall economy.

As consumers deplete their excess post-pandemic savings resources, they will be forced to spend less in the overall economy, thus driving down consumer spending and helping tame inflation.

This is a prime example of real world daily purchasing habits that have direct impact on U.S. inflationary values that extend both to general retail and our construction industry.

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