Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Eats What and How Much

Yogurt, broccoli, orange juice, peanuts: the USDA knows how much you eat. Through diary surveys in which respondents record their daily food intake combined with commodity data measuring aggregate consumption, government researchers are able to track what we eat and how it's changing. A USDA report looks at some of the changes in per capita consumption from 1994–98 through 2007–08 (the latest data available)...

  • We are eating less fruit, but mostly because we're drinking less orange juice.
  • We are eating fewer vegetables, but mostly because we've cut back on potatoes.
  • We are drinking less milk, but we're eating more cheese and yogurt. 

The report also examines who eats what by demographic characteristic. Take yogurt, for example. The average person ate 8.07 pounds of yogurt in 2007–08, nearly twice the 4.05 pounds in 1994–98. The biggest fans of yogurt are women (10.93 pounds per year), those with higher incomes (9.26 pounds), and college graduates (10.92 pounds). 

Much more about trends in food consumption and the demographics of who eats what are available in the USDA Economic Research Service report U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008

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