The Top 10 Grocery Store Items in America

The list of Top 10 grocery items bought in America changes very little from year to year.


Sales bring customers into the store, but they still buy the same items every week.Sales bring customers into the store, but they still buy the same items every week.
The top 10 items grocery stores put on sale each week don't change much either. Some items, such as soda, are put on sale to pull customers into the store, knowing that once they come in they will buy additional items, too.

Americans spend the most money of all on carbonated drinks at the grocery store, a total of $12 billion per year. Soda is also the second most likely item to be on sale at the grocery store, according to research by Frugal Friday, a regular column with tips on saving money, on the website


The tab for milk among Americans is a staggering $11.2 billion annually. Though the cost of milk is often discussed, especially when it increases in price, milk is on Right Health's list of the 10 best foods to consume. Milk contains a lot of vitamin D and calcium for the price.


Americans spend about $10 billion annually on bread and rolls at the grocery store alone. But buying "wheat bread" doesn't necessarily mean it's healthier. Look for the first ingredient to be "100 percent whole wheat" or "100 percent whole grain" for the healthiest choice.


Beer-drinking Americans spend more than $8 billion on beer annually. It's also consistently at the top of the list of items grocery stores put on sale every week.

Salty Snacks

Americans spend about $8 billion every year on salty snacks. Salty snacks are nearly always on sale at the store, too, alternating among potato chips one week, pretzels another week and other salty snacks on other weeks.


Americans' total grocery store expenditure for cheese is $7.6 billion each year. Cheese is also on the list of healthiest foods to eat because of its hefty doses of calcium, vitamin D and other minerals.

Frozen Dinners

Frozen dinners account for $6.13 billion of American consumers' grocery expenditures during the year. Meals by Kashi and Lean Cuisine made the lists of best-tasting, low-in-sodium frozen meals listed in Consumer Reports and Women's Health Magazine.


Cereal in colorful packaging with delicious-looking pictures helps Americans spend about $6 billion on adult and children's cereal every year. Major manufacturers have begun adding fiber to many super-sweet varieties targeted at children, somewhat improving their nutritional benefits.


Wine alone accounts for about $5.5 billion of Americans' grocery store expenditures each year. That figure doesn't count wine purchased in drug stores, discount stores and stores that only sell alcohol.


In spite of the fact that only a fraction of the U.S. population smokes cigarettes, this group spends $4.6 billion a year on their habit.

About the Author

Barbara Bean-Mellinger is an award-winning writer in southwest Florida. She currently writes articles for newspapers, magazines and websites on topics including people, animals, careers and education, as well as advertising and promotional materials for businesses. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pittsburgh.