Grocery Store Prices for 14 Items in 1957

Butter was significantly cheaper in 1957.
Butter was significantly cheaper in 1957.

Maybe Father knew best in 1957, but he probably didn't have a clue about how much Mother forked over at the grocery store for his tuna noodle casserole. He made about $4,494 a year, paid about $20,000 for his house, $2,500 for his Ford, and roughly 27 cents a gallon to fill 'er up at the gas pump.

In this list, we'll see how deep Mother had to dig into her pocketbook at the grocery store checkout.

A dollar went a lot further 50 years ago than it does today -- you could buy a whole gallon of milk for a buck.
A dollar went a lot further 50 years ago than it does today -- you could buy a whole gallon of milk for a buck.
2008 HowStuffWorks

Back in 1957, milk was $1 per gallon.

Today, we have a lot more choices when standing in the dairy aisle, but whether whole, 2 percent, 1 percent, skim, or soy, milk sets us back about $3.49 when it's not on sale.­

TV Dinner

A Swanson TV dinner cost just 75 cents in 1957. With classics like Wagon Train and American Bandstand shown in 39.5 million homes, TV trays were popping up all over the place. Today, a frozen chicken and corn tray will set you back $2.99.


Tang Breakfast Crystals were launched in America in 1957 for around 50 cents a jar. In 1965, the Gemini 4 astronauts got this powdered vitamin C powerhouse for free on their space mission and all of the following Gemini and Apollo missions. Today, anyone can buy Tang for $3.39 for a 12-ounce canister.

Ground Beef

To make that delicious meatloaf, mother shelled out 30 cents for a pound of hamburger in 1957. Today, we pay considerably more for our ground beef -- $4.09 per pound!


When they weren't cooking with lard or shortening, American women of 1957 opted for butter at 75 cents a pound. These days, we're more likely to count fat grams and opt for margarine or other butter substitutes. In any case, at about $3.99 a pound, we don't pay with just our arteries to enjoy good old-fashioned butter today.


In 1957, you could douse a stack of flapjacks with pure Vermont maple syrup because it only cost 33 cents for 12 ounces. At $9.36 for 12 ounces of the real stuff today, we have to go a little lighter on the sap. But these days it's much less expensive to grab an imitation. You can get 12 ounces of Aunt Jemima for $1.89.

Campbell's Tomato Soup

It's no wonder Campbell's tomato soup has always been a family favorite. People have been wallowing in its creamy comfort for generations. To make it even more soothing, in 1957 a can only set you back a dime! Today, it's still an affordable form of therapy, and it costs only a buck.


Gum chompers had several choices back in 1957. There were Juicy Fruit, Wrigley's Spearmint, and Dubble Bubble, to name a few. You could pretty much chew until your jaw hurt at just 19 cents for 6 packs (30 pieces). Today, in addition to the dental bills, it costs about $1.19 for a 6-pack of gum.


In 1957, in a world in which the word fiber was mostly used to discuss fabrics, a bunch of broccoli only cost 23 cents. Today's health-conscious crowd pays a little more to munch this super food -- around $1.79 per bunch.


In 1957, a dozen eggs cost a mere 55 cents. For those who aren't quite ready to pour an omelet from a pint-size container of artificial eggs, you can still crack the good old-fashioned, incredible, edible egg for $2.99 a dozen.

Iceberg Lettuce

Iceberg lettuce used to rule the refrigerator's produce bin -- it only cost 19 cents per head in 1957! Salad makers these days reach for other types of lettuce, including romaine, red leaf, and endive, just to name a few. Iceberg still has its loyal followers, but they can now plan on paying $1.49 per head.

Nabisco Saltines

Nabisco saltines can settle an upset stomach, and, at 25 cents for a 16-ounce package in 1957, that's better than medicine. But today, the same size box will set you back $2.69.

Pot Roast

Pot roasts brought families to the table most Sundays in 1957, and it cost 69 cents a pound for that roast. Today, it's harder to get busy families together, but when they do, the cook can expect to pay $4.59 per pound.

Canned Corn

The "Ho Ho Ho, Green Giant" jingle wasn't born until 1959, but cooks in 1957 reached for a can of corn with his jolly green likeness for about 14 cents per 27-ounce can. Today, 95 cents will get you a 15-ounce can.


Helen Davies, Marjorie Dorfman, Mary Fons, Deborah Hawkins, Martin Hintz, Linnea Lundgren, David Priess, Julia Clark Robinson, Paul Seaburn, Heidi Stevens, and Steve Theunissen



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