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 level. 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, sales of food at home (FAH) and food away from home (FAFH) are available on a monthly basis—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, with a 2-year lag.
The FES is a valuable tool for government agencies, academics, and private sector stakeholders to assess and track developments in consumer food purchasing behaviors and the food supply. National annual data for the previous year are typically released in early June, while monthly data updates are typically released June through February between the 17th and the 20th of the month. State-level FES estimates lag 2 years and are typically released in late fall.
With the release of the 2017 Economic Census, the revised estimates were replaced with final estimates in 2022. Changes to the 2017 Economic Census resulted in revisions to the FES data files (additional details are provided in the Documentation).
Note that the source data and methods for the national-level estimates were comprehensively revised in 2018, resulting in a break from previously published food expenditures data from 1997 forward. The Technical Bulletin provides detailed information on the data sources, methodology, and data product revisions:Measuring the Value of the U.S. Food System: Revisions to the Food Expenditure Series
The State-level food expenditure estimates were released in 2023 and provide total and per capita food expenditure estimates for FAH and FAFH from 1997 forward. The following Technical Bulletin provides a comprehensive description of the data and methods used to create the State estimates as well as a comparison with other measures of State-level food spending:Estimating the State-Level Food Expenditure Series
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 on expenditures on food and alcoholic beverages that were consumed at home by selected countries, see International Consumer and Food Industry Trends.
Note: The previous food expenditure data series is available continuously from 1889 to 2014. For ease of use, these estimates have been organized in a tabular format consistent with the comprehensive revision (see the tables under Archived Food Expenditure Tables).