Foreign Food Frenzy: How much more did Americans spend on imported food in 2022?

Despite paying more at checkout, American consumers are buying more food items from other countries.

Economists at USDA say during the first 11 months of 2022, U.S. consumers spent nearly 20 percent more on foreign food items than during that same time period the prior year.

They say last year’s food imports month-by-month were the highest on record, coming in at more than $182 billion worth. Data shows prices for most imported foods are up, and in some cases, by a lot.

“The entire year has been the highest on record, but we’re not changing our purchasing behavior because of those price increases. We’re continuing to buy the same amounts of even a little bit more in almost every category that we’re tracking here,” said USDA’s Bart Kenner.

Kenner says fresh and frozen fruits are topping the list. He says most of those are ones that are not in season here. Also, U.S. consumers are buying more imported vegetables as well as comfort items like cocoa, wines, and distilled spirits.

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