Supermarket Food Prices In 1976

A Look Back At Food Prices In 1976. How Much Have Food Prices Really Increased In The Last 40 Years?

Shop Rite Ad Evening News Sept 1 1976If you do the supermarket shopping and pay attention to prices, you may have noticed that most items seem to have gone up in price significantly or shrunk in size over the last few years. But have prices really gone up that much over the long run?

We decided to take a look back at three supermarket ads from September 1, 1976 in the Evening News which covered the Hudson Valley in the suburbs of New York City.

Grand Union Ad Evening News Sept 1 1976

The advertisers were Grand Union Supermarkets which were spread throughout the northeast and in business from 1872 – 2013. A&P Supermarkets were in business from 1859 until last year. And ShopRite Supermarkets, founded in 1946 which is still in business and going strong.

Here are closeups of portions of the full page ads and below that is a chart with 1976 supermarket food prices versus 2016 prices. Click to enlarge:

Grand Union Ad Fruit Evening News Sept 1 1976 Shop Rite Ad Food Evening News Sept 1 1976    A P Ad Bacon Sept 1 1976Grand Union Ad Meat Evening News Sept 1 1976

Shop Rite Ad Meat Fruit Evening News Sept 1 1976

A P Ad Sweathog book cover Sept 1 1976

In the chart below comprised from these ads, we did not include any generic store brands and tried to match the size being offered in 1976 to a similar quantity in 2016. The 2016 price is an approximation of New York – New Jersey suburb prices in supermarkets located in Rockland and Bergen Counties respectively.

Product 1976 Price Approximate  2016 Price
  Seedless Grapes – 1 lb. .49 3.29
  Bartlett Pears – 3 lbs. 1.00 4.47
  Eggplant – 1 lb. .25 .99
  Eggs Grade A – 1 dozen .79 1.99
  Chicken Breasts w / wings Grade A – 1 lb. .59 3.19
  Filet Mignon USDA Choice – 1 lb. 2.49 10.99
  Sirloin Steak USDA Choice – 1 lb. 1.27 6.99
  Sweet Corn – 10 ears .79 4.99
  Valencia Oranges size 88 – 10 for .99 7.99
  San Giorgio Ziti Pasta – 1 lb. box – 3 for .88 2.97
  Starkist Chunk Light Tuna – 6 ½ oz. can .49 1.69
  8 O’Clock Coffee – 1 lb. 1.69 4.99 (12 oz.)
  Duncan Hines Brownie Mix – 19 oz. .79 4.49 (18 oz.)
  Coca Cola – 64 oz. .69 1.59 (2 lt.)
  Uncle Ben’s Rice – 10 lbs. 2.99 13.99
  Keebler Chocolate Chip Cookies -14 oz. .75 3.49
  Hillshire Farms Polish Kielbasa – 1 lb. 1.39 4.99 (13 oz.)

From what we can see prices on most items have at least tripled and quadrupled. Taking inflation into account, today’s prices are still very much in line with what they were 40 years ago. The largest price increases have been with fruits such as grapes, oranges and pears.

Many brands that were advertised are no longer in business or were swallowed up by larger corporations and renamed or eliminated. The generic store brands of both Grand Union and A&P are no longer manufactured with the exception of 8 O’Clock Coffee.

If only stores could once again stock something like the Welcome Back Kotter “Sweathog” Epstein book cover offered for free at Grand Union. Maybe they could give away something that would reflect the intellect of the modern TV audience that watches Keeping Up With The Kardashian’s – how about an empty box?

3 thoughts on “Supermarket Food Prices In 1976

  1. Kelli Hill

    You’re wrong. I was married and had a family in the 70s. I worked in a grocery store and my husband was the butcher. I don’t know where the yearly income charts come from, but they’re BS. We built a three bedroom 1,100 sq ft house on 4 acres for 30,000. We couldn’t afford any type of pool. I also knew few people who had a lousy work ethic and kids back then had respect for their elders.

  2. David Ratte

    In truth, food was more expensive in the 70s because those prcies were more now than they were back then. For example, they are charging 79 cents for a dozen eggs. In todays money that is $3.68. I can get that now for $2.29

  3. Koni Royval

    I can still buy LARGE eggs for 99 cents a dozen, Brownie mix at 99 cents and the same with the cookies, Grapes at 99 cents per pound. Boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99 per pound. We do not Eat the meat–cook it for our 5 chihuahua’s. I do find that cleaning supplies are less costly. All thx to the discount stores 2 liter bottles of Coke for 99 cents–not that bad when I consider how much more I earn now.

    In 1976,the average yearly income was $14.922 VS $83,143 in the latest year on the chart-2016. So to see that Coke 64oz go from 60 cents to 99cents for the 2 liter (66oz) not an issue. Even IF all products had gone up by 3 times–and they have not. Wage have gone up far more. What is hurting–but ONLY in some areas is the home prices. While the price of MY first home-back in 1975 was only $21,000. It was a 2/1 home. The bath so very tiny that if two people did come in that room they stood in the tub. It was a dear little home–a was the SAME price, PITI as our rental. A concept my in laws did NOT understand, as the rental WAS much cutier-but not ours. $500 down and $500 closing. Sold it in ONE year for a huge profit at the START of California’s BOOM for far more than I could have paid for it. Took the profit & moved to Tucson and new job, Bought a home with close to 3x the sq ft. 4/2 bath, VA repo–just prior to his loosing it. All we did was pay up his 6 months of back pmts at $220 each & title fees. This was Jan of 1977 NEVER happens anymore Wonderful kitchen.

    The school for our daughter–was directly behind us, As in behind our fence–no roads. A cul-de-sac! Due to yet ANOTHER job change–sold again–. Closer to Phx. This home came with LAND. Stayed for 5 years, Finally bought 10 acres with a well for $20,000 & built all our own, All by 33, Insane what was possible prior to the world turning UPSIDE down! Our children grew up learning to work,friends came out to ride horses,bikes, Falconry and swim. Not wealthy at all–used above ground pool! If I attempted do do the same NOW—I would need 3 jobs!


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