Food Consumption Trends
USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) estimates total food expenditures for all food consumed in the United States was $1.24 trillion in 2010. Food purchased for home consumption accounted for $646.8 billion or 52 percent of the total.
According to the ERS, spending on food away from home in 2010 was $594 billion or 48 percent. Restaurants, both full-service and fast food, account for about three quarters of all food-away-from-home sales. According to the National Restaurant Association, U.S. adults purchase a restaurant snack or meal 5.8 times per week. The United States has 970,000 restaurants and foodservice outlets. The National Restaurant Association projects 2012 sales at $632 billion, up from $379 billion in 2000.
U.S. consumers are spending a smaller percentage of their income on food. According to USDA, food expenditures by families and individuals as a share of disposable personal income was 9.4 percent in 2010, versus 11.4 percent in 1990. Food purchased for home consumption accounted for 5.5 percent of total U.S. disposable personal income in 2010. Food purchased away from home accounted for nearly 4 percent of disposable personal income in 2010.
The USDA compiles four food plans for individuals and families for food consumed at home in the United States. Separate food plans are compiled for Alaska and Hawaii. Weekly and monthly costs are calculated for the thrift, low-cost, moderate-cost and liberal food plans. Based on data from June 2011, food for a single male, age 19-50 cost $40.60 a week on the thrifty model and $80.20 a week on the liberal cost plan. A single female, age 19-50 spent $36.20 a week on the thrifty model and $71.80 a week on the liberal food cost plan. The cost of food for a family of four with children ages 6-8 and 9-11 was estimated at $141.20 per week on the thrifty food model and $278.80 on the liberal cost plan. The food plans only accounted for meals and snacks prepared for home consumption.
Food Service Industry, Market Segment, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.
National Restaurant Association.
USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA.
- Does 5-a-Day Pay?, Agricultural Issues Center (AIC) Issues Brief no. 27, University of California, 2004 - This study examines potential gains to growers from increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables to recommended levels in a cancer prevention diet.
- The Expanding U.S. Market for Fresh Produce, Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD), Iowa State University, 2004 - Examines why U.S. produce consumption is increasing.
- Trends in the Marketing of Fresh Produce and Fresh-cut Products, Roberta Cook, Agricultural Issues Center, University of California, 2007.
Economic Research Service, USDA
- The Demand for Food Away from Home: Full Service or Fast Food, 2004 - This report explains how population trends and rising incomes will affect spending on food purchased away from home. It includes estimates for growth rates in food spending at full-service and fast food restaurants.
- Diet Quality & Food Consumption, Briefing Room.
- Food Availability - The food consumption (or 'food disappearance') database contains data on nearly 300 commodities, and information concerning population, the nutrient content of the food supply, and prices and expenditures related to food consumption.
- Food Consumption
- Food Expenditures (tables).
- Food Markets & Prices
- From Supply Push to Demand Pull: Agribusiness Strategies for Today’s Consumers, Amber Waves, 2003 - This article said changing demographics in the United States are driving changes in consumer demand for food products.
- How Much Time do Americans Spend Eating? Amber Waves, 2008.
- The Impact of Food Away From Home on Adult Diet Quality, 2010 - Food consumed away from home was found to increase daily caloric intake and reduce diet quality for the average adult.
- Insidious Consumption: Surprising Factors that Influence What We Eat and How Much, Amber Waves, 2007.
- Local Food Systems: Concepts, Impacts and Issues, 2010 - This overview explores definitions of local food, estimates market size and reach and describes the characteristics of local consumers and producers.
- Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion - Monthly reports.
- Understanding Fruit and Vegetable Choices - Research Briefs, 2004.
- Expenditures on Children by Families, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, USDA - Yearly annual reports
- Flavor Trends of 2012, Food Processing.com.
- The Food Channel's Top 10 Food Trends for 2012, The Food Channel.
- Food Surveys Research Group, Agricultural Research Service, USDA - This site offers data on U.S. food and nutrient intakes and the nutrient content of 13,000 foods.
- Food Trends to Watch Over the Next Decade, Epicurious.
- Gourmet Retailer Trends, The Gourmet Retailer - Read about the latest trends in the gourmet industry.
- Office of Consumer Goods Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce - This Web site provides outlook reports on processed foods, wine and appliances.
- Pizza Magazine, Pizza Marketing Quarterly's pizza business publication.
- Use of Private Label Foods Continues to Rise But Satisfaction with these Value-Oriented Options is Declining, Reports, The NPD Group, 2012.
Links checked July 2012.