If there is one meal of the day that’s talked about more than any other, it’s breakfast. Given that it’s the first thing you eat in the morning, what you have on your plate can often determine how your day will go. Only have time for a cup of coffee? Prepare for a hectic day. Have the ability to enjoy two eggs, a pastry, and coffee, or to eat breakfast at a restaurant? You might as well be on vacation. But just like any other meal, breakfast has changed over the years as eating trends have transformed.
“Breakfast has always been important for different reasons,” food historian Amy Bentley told The Daily Meal. "In the late 19th century into the early 20th century we saw the rise of the dietary reformists like Kellogg’s and cereal becoming a popular breakfast item. “It doesn’t replace bacon and eggs. Bacon and eggs still go strong with cereal until the ‘60s or ‘70s with the idea that cholesterol in eggs is bad. Finally, in the modern era cereal becomes demonized as unhealthy. Now, we’re in a protein phase, so eggs are coming back in with a lot of energy.”
As you can imagine, with all of these changes regarding what defines breakfast, the price of the commodities that make up the morning spread have fluctuated too. Luckily, we’ve already done some digging on the retail price of a dozen large eggs over the decades and just had to track down the other elements of the traditional American breakfast: toast, bacon, potatoes, coffee, and orange juice. To do this, we relied on several sources including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which provided prices for bread, coffee, and potatoes, from 1937 to 1999 and the price of bacon from 1980 to 1999. To fill in the bacon gaps, we relied on money website Cheapism’s research.
This gave the best average price of breakfast, as it certainly changed depending on region and what popular food items were typically found on the plate. Since these are retail prices, the totals below reflect the cost of breakfast for a family of four cooking at home.
So read on to learn just how much folks would have paid for a homemade breakfast for the years between 1937 and 2000. And, as a bonus, we’ve included some trivia about what was happening in the country and culinary world for each year. Go on and grab your cup of coffee and check out this informative and scrumptious gallery.