Food costs in the 1960s

Written by nancy hayden
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Food costs in the 1960s
Most produce cost well under a dollar per pound in the '60s. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Upon seeing the cost of food in the 1960s, many people might wish to go back in time to live like kings. While food costs may have been extremely low by modern standards, it is important to remember that the average income in the '60s was somewhere between £3,250 and £4,550. Food costs fluctuated throughout the decade, along with the cost of living in different regions, but these prices represent averages in the '60s.

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Meat in the '60s was much less expensive than in modern times. The comparison of which meats were more expensive, however, was quite similar. Chicken and minced meat were among the most economical, with chicken costing $.29 per pound and minced meat costing $.45 per pound. Pork products were just a bit more, with smoked hams costing $.49 per pound and kielbasa and pork chops at $.59 per pound. Beef prices ranged, with beef chuck roasts at $.49 per pound, sirloin steaks at $.89 per pound and Porterhouse steaks cost at 70p per pound.


Many common U.S. fruits were more expensive than vegetables in the '60s. Apples cost $.49 per pound, while asparagus cost just $.19 per pound. Other fruits ranged widely: bananas cost an average of around $.15 per pound; grapes cost $.14 per pound; watermelon cost just $.02 cents per pound; and oranges cost $.89 per pound. Basic veggies such as corn cost $.25 for six ears and carrots cost $.29 for four pounds. Green peppers cost $.05 each and iceberg lettuce cost $.25 per head. Onions cost $.29 for two pounds and potatoes cost $.39 for 4.54 Kilogram.

Bread and Dairy

While bread costs have risen since the '60s, they haven't risen by several dollars like some meats, produce and dairy items have. A loaf of white bread cost an average of $.20 and wheat cost around $.25, while a 2.27kg. bag of flour cost $.49. Eggs cost an average $.49 per dozen, butter cost around $.65 per pound and margarine cost $.31 per pound. Cheese cost around $.40 per pound, while processed cheese cost that much for an 227gr. package. Store-bought ice cream cost around $.80 per half gallon.

Canned Goods and Packaged Items

People began eating more prepackaged food in the '60s. Frozen dinners cost $.39 and frozen chicken pot pies cost $.29. Soup cost $.89 for six cans and cereal cost around $.30 a box. Baby food cost $.25 for three cans and Jello cost $.35 for four packages. Ketchup cost $.22 a bottle and mayonnaise cost around $.50 per jar. Peanut butter cost around $.80 per jar and sugar cost $.38 per 2.27kg. bag. A pack of chewing gum cost $.05 and a fast food hamburger cost $.20.

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