Diving into Food Expenditures

June 6, 2022 | Letters

Jinho Jung, Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics, and Nicole Olynk Widmar, Associate Head and Professor, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics

Here on Consumer Corner, we cover topics from final food products like the market and price situation for chicken wings and beef tenderloins in order to garner understanding of consumers’ demands. Spending on food has been a hotly-debated topic throughout the recent market turmoil fueled by the pandemic, especially in the debates about food away from home versus food consumed at home. Now, with food prices rising, food expenditures are a rising concern facing U.S. households.

In order to glean insights into food demand, the Center for Food Demand Analysis and Sustainability (CFDAS) at Purdue University is publishing in-depth reports called Consumer Food Insights based on a monthly survey led by Dr. Jayson L. Lusk and Samuel Polzin. The report presents interesting facts about consumers such as what they are thinking about food, what food they can afford and what food attributes consumers believe are most important to guide farmers and retailers along the supply chain.

Below we highlight some insightful facts in an excerpt from a recent Consumer Food Insights Report regarding food expenditures. In addition to the report, readers may wish to interact with the data driving these findings through the Data Dashboard available on the website.

U.S. households spent around $177.08 on average for food per week in March with $114.06 at the grocery store (for food consumed at home) and $63.02 at restaurants (commonly characterized as food away from home (FAFH)). Reflecting the on-going inflation on food prices, there appeared continuous rises in food expenditures since January. A major destination of the expenditure on food away from home are dine-in at restaurants with 27%, followed by takeaway from fast food (20%) and restaurants (15%). Food delivery accounts for 16% of the FAFH spending.

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