Foodservice Equipment Reports

Foodservice Spending Hits Pre-Recession Levels While Overall Cost Of Food Continues To Fall

A couple of research reports about food and foodservice caught our eye last week. The first, from Scott Hume of, was an analysis of recently released data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that average U.S. household spending for food away from home reached $2,698 for the 12 months ending July 2013. That’s exactly what the average household spent for the full year in 2008, before the recession. Food-at-home spending actually declined slightly for the comparable 2012-2013 period, falling $6 to $3,899. The full analysis is available here.

Meanwhile, the Pew Research Center released an analysis by Senior Writer Drew DeSilver that opined that one of the sources of America’s obesity crisis is our remarkably cheap food. Citing an article in CA:A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, DeSilver notes that the percentage of disposable income that Americans pay for food has steadily declined over the decades. In the 1930s, Americans spent a quarter of their disposable income for food; now the percentage is less than 10%, almost certainly less than at any time in the history of the world.

During the past 45 years, most of that decline has been for food at home, which now takes less than 6% of disposable income. Spending on foodservice has remained fairly constant at about 4% of disposable income since 1970.

Meanwhile, the average calorie intake has risen from 2,109 calories in 1970 to 2,568 calories in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. And obesity rates have risen to almost 35%, more than twice the number reported in a 1976-1980 health study, cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The full article, including data that seem to show lack of exercise is not the problem, is here.
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