Food Expenditure Series
The USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) Food Expenditure Series (FES) is a comprehensive data set that measures the U.S. food system—quantifying the value of food acquired in the United States by type of product, outlet, and purchaser. The data series measures:
- the value of food acquired—including food and beverage sales (as well as taxes and tips), and
- the value of food produced at home, donated, and furnished to employees and institutionalized persons.
Food expenditure data are estimates at the national and State levels. National-level food expenditures are allocated annually between four types of products from various outlets and three types of purchasers and users. In addition to the annual estimates, monthly sales of food at home (FAH) and food away from home (FAFH) are available, benchmarked to the annual estimates, with each annual revision. State-level expenditures are allocated annually for FAH and FAFH, benchmarked to the national-level estimates.
The FES is a tool for government agencies, academics, and private sector stakeholders to assess and track developments in consumer food purchasing behaviors and the food supply. Annual national and State data for the previous year are typically released in early June. Monthly national data updates are typically released June through February between the 17th and the 21st of each month.
The source data and methods for the national-level estimates were comprehensively updated in 2018 as described in the Technical Bulletin, Measuring the Value of the U.S. Food System: Revisions to the Food Expenditure Series. The current series provides data starting in 1997. Estimates through 2017 are final estimates, and estimates from 2018 and beyond are subject to change until the release of the next Economic Census, published by the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of the Census (additional details are provided in the Documentation).
The State-level food expenditure estimates were published in 2023 using the methodology detailed in the report, Estimating the State-Level Food Expenditure Series, and revised in 2024 as described in the Addendum, Addendum to Estimating the State-Level Food Expenditure Series, due to data availability (additional details are provided in the Documentation). The State-level estimates provide total and per capita food expenditure estimates for FAH and FAFH from 1997 forward.
The food expenditures data complement current ERS data sets: Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System, Food Price Outlook, Food Dollar Series, and FoodAPS National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey. For data by selected counties on expenditures on food and alcoholic beverages that were consumed at home, see International Consumer and Food Industry Trends.
Note: The food expenditure series data sets using the previous methodologies are available under the Archived Food Expenditure Tables. This includes national spending estimates continuously from 1889 to 2014 and State sales estimates from 1997 to 2020. For ease of use, these estimates are organized in a tabular format consistent with the comprehensive revision.