Calorie availability and importance of food in household spending are inversely related

Chart showing per capita calorie availability and food at home spending as a share of consumption expenditures

Countries vary in how much their citizens spend on food at home as a share of consumption expenditures. (Consumption expenditures include all household spending, but not savings.) In high-income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, spending shares on food at home are low because food is less expensive compared to other spending categories, people eat out more often, and incomes are high. In 2016, these two countries spent less than 10 percent of their consumption expenditures on food purchased from supermarkets and other food stores. In Kenya and other low-income countries, at-home food’s share of consumption expenditures can exceed 50 percent. Per capita calorie availability follows the reverse pattern. According to the most recent available data, U.S. per capita calorie availability was among the highest at 3,682 calories per day, while Kenya’s was estimated at only 2,206 calories per day, reflecting differences between the countries in supplies of food available for people to eat. This chart appears in ERS’s web product, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials.

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