Food Supply

The overall percentage of consumer food expenditures for farm foods at home or at restaurants, excludes imported and non-farm foods such as coffee and seafood.
The overall percentage of consumer food expenditures for farm foods at home or at restaurants, excludes imported and non-farm foods such as coffee and seafood.  

Related "Issue of the Day" Entries

Overall Food Prices Rise
Published Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend on average 12.5% of their budgets on food each year, yet still many find their access to food is shrinking. The price of food is closely related to the initial cost of that food’s ingredients,  the energy to create the food, and the fuel to transport the product to market. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office stated that increased use of ethanol accounted for about 10% to 15% of the rise in food prices between April 2007 and April 2008. According to the Consumer Price Index, the average cost of food rose 5.9% last year as food companies wanted to protect their profit margins. Accordingly, overall food prices rose by 0.3% in April compared with the previous month yet they are still 3.7% lower than they were a year earlier.

Prices for fruits and vegetables also reacted to production costs as vegetables rose 1.4%, yet fruit higher demand offset energy costs, causing prices to fall 3%. Products that rely on biofuels products like corn and wheat rose 7.4%. Meat products, such as beef and pork, chickens and eggs have increased in price; where as dairy products, such as milk, as a whole have decreased 3.1% over last year’s prices. Much of this can be explained by the farm acreage that is utilized by biofuels production and the lower numbers of livestock operations.  Another added expense to the prices of food stuffs is the ever increasing price for farm foods packaging.

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Spending on Farm Foods Slows
Published Thursday, February 19th, 2009

According to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, consumer spending on food fell an inflation-adjusted 3.7% from the third quarter of 2008. This is the steepest decline in 62 years of analysis based on receipts from a variety of food-oriented businesses across the country. Consumers are trading down from specialty foods to lower priced items, rooting through pantries for staples, and forgoing restaurants; all are adding to the decline. According to the Private label Manufactures Association, the U.S. sales of private-label food rose 10% in 2008 from 2007; concurrently, branded food products saw sales rise 2.8%.

Also on the rise is the use of fast food restaurants, who absorbed much of the higher ingredient costs to  keep much of its menu items near $1. With prices for supermarket food surging higher, the fast food industry has made its products more of a bargain than before, attracting ever more people to their table. For example, McDonald’s has reported that same-store sales rose 7.1% in January, 5.4% in the U.S. Both the increase in fast food and the decrease in consumer spending for food are contributing to the percentage of food expenditures spent on farm foods (fruits, vegtables, grains and meats) to slow down its steady increase from 1% change to mere 0.01% to 0.02% per year starting in 2000.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture: Expenditures -
The Economic Research Service is a primary source of economic information and research in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. With 450 employees, ERS conducts a research program to inform public and private decisionmaking on economic and policy issues involving food, farming, natural resources, and rural development.

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USDA-Food and Nutrition -
The USDA has helpful tools to prevent obesity and diseases with meal planning, trans fat awareness and allergen information on food labels.