ERS tracks the supply of food available for consumption in the United States and examines consumer food preferences by consumers’ age, income, region, race/ethnicity, and place where food is obtained, as well as by food/commodity categories and other characteristics. Descriptive statistics of commodity consumption help inform producers about who consumes their commodities, how and where their commodities are consumed, and how much is consumed. This information helps the food and agriculture industry improve its promotion strategies. In addition, USDA agencies have used commodity consumption data for regulatory analyses.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) maintains two sources of data on U.S. food consumption that are integral to the Federal Government’s ongoing efforts to monitor the health and dietary status of U.S. citizens. These sources are:
- The Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System (FADS) compiled by ERS, and
- The dietary intake surveys conducted by USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
When used together, these sources provide a comprehensive picture of the Nation’s eating habits and support the coordinated research program outlined in the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990.