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Publications

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105 publications, sorted by date 

ERR-171, August 19, 2014
ERS examines two possible strategies for containing WIC program costs–inducing small vendors to lower prices, and eliminating the vendors in each vendor peer group (organized by size and geographic location) who have the highest prices.
ERR-167, June 20, 2014
The association of food insecurity with household characteristics and national economic conditions over 2001-12 provides insight into why food insecurity remained at about the same level in 2012 as shortly after the recession.
TB-1938, May 21, 2014
ERS’s new Quarterly Food-Away-from-Home Prices (QFAFHP) data show substantial variation in prices across U.S. regions and food establishment types, with implications for analyses of food purchasing behavior and dietary outcomes.
ERR-165, April 29, 2014
An ERS econometric model shows that supply-and-demand factors specific to the wheat market largely accounted for observed price variation in 2008. In contrast, speculation by index traders had comparatively little influence on prices.
ERR-160, November 26, 2013
The transmission of fuel prices to wholesale produce prices depends not only on distance from farm to sales point, but also on the transportation method, import shares and seasonality issues, and perishability.
AES-79, August 29, 2013
U.S. agricultural exports in fiscal 2014 are forecast down from the previous year's record-high. Exports are expected to fall $5 billion to $135 billion. Imports in fiscal 2014 are expected reach a record $113 billion.
AES-78, May 30, 2013
Record U.S. agricultural exports are forecast for fiscal 2013, up $3.7 billion from the year before to $139.5 billion. Imports are also projected to be at a record high, up $7.6 billion from fiscal 2012 to $111 billion.
VGS-352, December 18, 2012
The 2012 U.S. dry bean crop is expected to reach 31.8 million cwt, an increase of almost 60 percent from low production levels of 2011.
AES-76, November 29, 2012
Fiscal 2013 agricultural exports are forecast at a record $145 billion, up $9.2 billion above 2012 exports. Imports at record $115 billion.
EIB-102, November 08, 2012
Americans have a long way to go in conforming to dietary guidelines when purchasing food for home; they buy too few fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and choose foods with too many fats and added sugars.
VGS-351, September 27, 2012
Use of chickpeas (garbanzo beans) has increased in the United States as consumption of food such as humus expands. I n 2012, a record 196,900 acres were planted with Washington, Idaho, and California leading producers in the previous year.
ERR-139, August 23, 2012
Food away from home (FAFH) comprises nearly half of all U.S. consumer food expenditures. Hence, policies designed to influence nutritional outcomes would be incomplete if they did not address the role of FAFH. However, because of data limitations, most studies of the response of food demand to polic...
VGS-350, June 28, 2012
Prices at the point of first sale remain low for most fresh-market vegetables and consumer prices also fell in the first 5 months of 2012. Volumes are strong as mild winter and early spring temperatures allowed early planting in many areas. Per capita use of fresh-market vegetables fell less than 1 ...
AES-74, May 31, 2012
This outlook report offers, on a quarterly basis, the U.S. agricultural import and export outlook, as well as the year-to-date value and volume of U.S. agricultural exports and imports, by commodity and region.
EIB-96, May 16, 2012
How food items are priced (by calorie, by weight, or by average amount consumed) has a large effect on which foods are determined to be more expensive.
OCE-121, February 13, 2012
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2021. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERR-129, December 29, 2011
ERS analyzes the relationship between private label (store brand) and national brand product prices and promotions for two major U.S. grocery store chains during the 2007-09 recession and the year following the recession.
EIB-83, September 23, 2011
ERS finds that there is a heightened realism among Americans about their own diets, and examines how perceptions of diet quality vary with food expenditures, household food availability, and eating patterns.
ERR-123, August 18, 2011
ERS looks at direct and indirect impacts of higher energy prices on the agricultural and rural sectors, with scenarios developed for specific energy price changes.
FTS-347-01, July 25, 2011
This report uses data from USDA’s 2007 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS) and other sources to examine trends in the U.S. apple sector and compare production and marketing characteristics under organic and conventional farming systems.
GFA-22, July 15, 2011
ERS assesses the food security situation in 77 developing countries, including estimates for 2011 and projections for the next decade. The report is the latest in an annual series.
ERR-122, July 12, 2011
Modern grocery retailing has been expanding rapidly in developing countries, with implications for food demand, farmers’ income, and trade.
ERR-118, June 30, 2011
ERS estimates the effect of prices of various foods on children’s Body Mass Index (BMI), using price variation across time and geographic areas.
WRS-1103, June 28, 2011
The report describes the factors that have contributed to the large and rapid increase in agricultural prices during the past year. The report focuses particularly on food commodity prices—which have risen 60 percent since June 2010.
EIB-78, June 27, 2011
Although healthy foods can be affordable, individuals may have an economic incentive to consume a less healthful diet if less healthy foods are relatively cheaper. ERS examines whether healthy foods generally cost more than less healthy options and whether price differences vary across the country....
EIB-75, May 04, 2011
The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) provides supplemental foods to low-income women, infants, and children at nutritional risk. Since October 2009, WIC packages have included a fixed-value voucher for purchasing fruits and vegetables. Although this shoul...
ERR-116, April 26, 2011
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 increased benefit levels for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as the Food Stamp Program) and expanded SNAP eligibility for jobless adults without children. One goal of the program changes was to improve the food se...
ERR-114, February 24, 2011
A new and expanded ERS food dollar series provides a more detailed answer to the question of where our food dollars go (e.g., the farm share and the share among the various supply chain industry groups)
ERR-112, February 24, 2011
The extent to which cost changes pass through a vertically organized production process depends on the value added by each producer in the chain as well as a number of other organizational and marketing factors at each stage of production. Using 36 years of monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics price i...
OCE-111, February 14, 2011
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2020. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
EIB-71, February 01, 2011
ERS used retail scanner data to estimate the average prices of 153 fresh and processed fruits and vegetables. The report includes estimates of the cost of meeting the recommendations of USDA’s recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines
ERR-108, November 10, 2010
The percentage of U.S. households that were food insecure in 2009 was 14.7 percent. Though that level is essentially unchanged from 2008, the levels in both years are the highest recorded since monitoring began in 1995
AP-050, November 10, 2010
The Senate Report 111-039 accompanying S. 1406, the 2010 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Economic Research Service (ERS) prepare and publish a report regarding consumer perceptions of canned fruits and vegetables. In the absence of consumer...
ERR-105, October 22, 2010
ERS compares prices for a wide range of foods in traditional retail food stores and nontraditional discount stores. Findings show nontraditional retailers offer lower prices than traditional stores, even controlling for brand and package size.
GFA-21, July 08, 2010
Food security in 70 developing countries is estimated to have improved between 2009 and 2010, due in part to economic recovery in many of these countries. Over the next decade, the overall number of food-insecure people is projected to decline slightly.
ERR-96, June 03, 2010
ERS compares the potential effectiveness of coupons versus price discounts in encouraging fruit and vegetable consumption among participants in Federal food and nutrition assistance programs.
TB-1926, April 22, 2010
The Quarterly Food-at-Home Price Database (QFAHPD) was developed to provide market-level food prices that can be used to study how prices affect food choices, intake, and health outcomes. This report presents a detailed description of the methodology used to construct the QFAHPD. The database, const...
TB-1925, March 19, 2010
This report presents a simple methodology for calculating cross-price elasticities across countries, using the Frisch own-price elasticity. Cross-price elasticities are calculated for 9 major consumption categories from the 1996 International Comparison Program data across 114 countries. The consump...
ERR-94, March 10, 2010
Energy is an important input in growing, processing, packaging, distributing, storing, preparing, serving, and disposing of food. Analysis using the two most recent U.S. benchmark input-output accounts and a national energy data system shows that in the United States, use of energy along the food ch...
OCE-2010-1, February 11, 2010
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2019. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERR-88, November 17, 2009
The livestock industry uses information on meat prices at different stages in the marketing system to make production decisions. When grocery stores began using electronic scanners to capture prices paid for meat, it was assumed that the livestock industry could capitalize on having these point-of-s...
ERR-83, November 16, 2009
Eighty-five percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2008, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (14.6 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the yea...
EIB-61, October 23, 2009
From 2000 to 2007, food spending by middle- and low-income households grew more slowly than food prices, and national prevalence of very low food insecurity (food intakes reduced) rose from 3.1 percent in 2000 to 4.1 in 2007.
VGS-333-01, August 19, 2009
Growth over time in the demand for fresh vegetables for at-home consumption may slow because of differences in the behavior of younger and older birth cohorts. A birth cohort includes people born in the same year and is similar in concept to a generation. People born around the same point in history...
AP-036, June 25, 2009
This report fills a request for a study of food deserts—areas with limited access to affordable and nutritious food—from the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008. The report summarizes findings of a national-level assessment of the extent and characteristics of food deserts, analysis of the co...
EIB-45, March 31, 2009
Over the years, proposals have recommended shifting the focus of public agricultural research from applied to basic research, and giving higher priority to peer-reviewed, competitively funded grants. The public agricultural research system in the United States is a Federal-State partnership, with mo...
ERR-70, January 09, 2009
ERS study found that a 10-percent reduction in prices would encourage low-income Americans to raise consumption of fruit by 2.1-5.2 percent and vegetables by 2.1-4.9 percent.
ERR-69, December 30, 2008
Researchers use Nielsen Homescan data, which provide detailed food-purchase information from a panel of U.S. households, to address a variety of important research topics. However, some question the credibility of the data since the data are self-recorded and the recording process is time-consuming....
EIB-41, December 18, 2008
The Food Stamp Program is designed to provide low-income families with increased food purchasing power to obtain a nutritionally adequate diet. As in most other Federal Government assistance programs, benefits are adjusted in response to rising prices—in this case, rising food prices. The current me...
AP-032, September 12, 2008
In response to Senate Report 110-134, accompanying S. 1859, the 2008 the Agriculture Appropriations Bill, ERS researchers published a report about consumer perceptions and consumption of canned fruits and vegetables using USDA’s food consumption survey data, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expe...
WRS-0801, July 23, 2008
World market prices for major food commodities such as grains and vegetable oils have risen sharply to historic highs of more than 60 percent above levels just 2 years ago. Many factors have contributed to the runup in food commodity prices. Some factors reflect trends of slower growth in production...
ERR-56, March 17, 2008
Globalization and income growth are resulting in increasing similarities worldwide in food purchasing patterns and food delivery mechanisms.
ERR-55, March 12, 2008
Evidence suggest that a wide class of unprepared fresh fruits and vegetables—those that have not been combined with labor-saving attributes—display declining prices along with prices of commonly consumed dessert and snack foods
OCE-2008-1, February 12, 2008
This report provides longrun (10-year) projections for the agricultural sector through 2017. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
ERR-54, January 07, 2008
Households have a number of needs and wants that all compete for scarce resources. Given this situation, are low-income households, in particular, generally willing and able to budget for healthful foods like fruits and vegetables, or are other goods and services, including other foods, more of a pr...
ERR-66, November 17, 2007
Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2007, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (11.1 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the yea...
ERR-49, November 14, 2007
Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2006, meaning that they had access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households (10.9 percent) were food insecure at least some time during the yea...
EIB-29-8, September 27, 2007
Currently, the effects of the Food Stamp Program on the food choices and diet quality of participants are the subject of much debate. Improved evaluation of the nutrition and health effects of the program would be of use to program and policy officials, but most of the existing research is limited b...
EIB-29-7, September 27, 2007
With obesity the most prevalent nutrition problem facing Americans at all economic levels, promoting diets that provide adequate nutrition without too many calories has become an important objective for the Food Stamp Program. Findings from behavioral economics suggest innovative, low-cost ways to i...
EIB-29-6, September 27, 2007
The Food Stamp Nutrition Education (FSNE) component of the Food Stamp Program is intended to improve the food choices, diet quality, and health of program participants. This brief discusses the FSNE program, how it operates, and how it has grown over time. The brief also considers the challenges of ...
EIB-29-5, September 27, 2007
This brief examines how consumers respond to food prices and how consumers’ response to price influences their purchases of particular foods, using examples drawn from previous ERS research. Implications of the findings for the use of price interventions to improve food choices are considered.
EIB-29-4, September 27, 2007
The Food Stamp Program provides benefits that low-income households can use to purchase food in grocery stores. The rise in obesity has raised the question of whether food stamp participants would purchase more healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, if food stamp benefits were higher. This re...
EIB-29-3, September 27, 2007
The cost of “enough food,” estimated from the amount that low- and medium-income households in a geographic area report needing to spend to just meet their food needs, differs substantially across States and among metropolitan areas. In areas with high food costs, many food-stamp recipients are like...
EIB-29-2, September 27, 2007
Significant regional differences in food prices affect how far food stamp benefits can go toward enhancing the diet of low-income consumers in a given region. In regions where average food prices exceed the national average, food stamp benefits may not provide the same level of coverage as the same ...
EIB-29-1, September 27, 2007
The increased food purchasing power offered by the Food Stamp Program can promote food security and improve the overall economic well-being of low-income households. Now, as Americans struggle with obesity and other diet-related health problems, there is interest in whether the program can be more e...
EIB-29, September 27, 2007
Eight economic information bulletins compile evidence to address the question of whether the Food Stamp Program could do more to encourage healthful food choices.
ERR-47, September 04, 2007
ERS examines economic factors in the dramatic decline in the number of dairy farms over the past 15 years and the increasing concentration in the industry.
EB-9, September 04, 2007
Innovation and changes in technology have been a driving force for gains in productivity growth in U.S. agriculture. USDA's Economic Research Service has developed annual indexes of agricultural inputs, outputs, and total factor productivity (TFP) for 1948 through 2004. American agriculture relies a...
EB-10, September 04, 2007
Over the last several decades, the U.S. agricultural sector has sustained impressive productivity growth. The Nation's agricultural research system, including Federal-State public research as well as private-sector research, has been a key driver of this growth. Economic analysis finds strong and co...
ERR-42, May 31, 2007
The increasing presence of nontraditional grocery retailers such as supercenters is generating new cost-cutting and differentiation strategies among traditional food retailers.
LDPM-155-01, May 22, 2007
Consumer interest in organic milk has burgeoned, resulting in rapid growth in retail sales of organic milk. New analysis of scanner data from 2004 finds that most purchasers of organic milk are White, high income, and well educated. The data indicate that organic milk purchased carries the USDA orga...
FDS-07D01, May 18, 2007
A large expansion in ethanol production is underway in the United States. Cellulosic sources of feedstocks for ethanol production hold some promise for the future, but the primary feedstock in the United States currently is corn. Market adjustments to this increased demand extend well beyond the cor...
ERR-38, March 13, 2007
ERS uses data from the coffee industry to examine to what extent changes in commodity costs affect manufacturer and retail prices.
EIB-23, March 13, 2007
Using data from the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey, ERS presents information on nationwide urban food expenditure patterns by select demographic and socioeconomic characteristics.
ERR-29, November 15, 2006
Eighty-nine percent of American households were food secure throughout the entire year in 2005, meaning that they had access, at all times, to enough food for an active, healthy life for all household members. The remaining households were food insecure at least some time during that year. The preva...
ERR-24, August 15, 2006
ERS estimates the share of retail food prices farmers earn on two commodity groups—fruits and vegetables. While the farm share has been shrinking, the decrease is less than previously believed.
EIB-5, September 29, 2005
Food Dynamics provides the most up-to-date information on consumer behavior and retail food market conditions.
ERR-8, July 20, 2005
Over 60 percent of China's consumers live on farms. Consequently, a large share of the agricultural commodities produced in China is consumed on farms by the rural population. This study of rural food consumption patterns in China finds that rural households rely on self-produced commodities, especi...
FANRR-41, January 11, 2005
Food prices within States affect average monthly costs of State food benefits packages provided by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) more than variations in WIC caseload composition do. In addition, cost-containment practices by State WIC agencies prov...
FANRR--39-2, January 03, 2005
This report develops an economic model that provides the theoretical framework for the econometric analyses presented in the report’s companion volume, WIC and the Retail Price of Infant Formula (FANRR-39-1). The model examines supermarket retail prices for infant formula in a local market area, and...
AER-839, December 15, 2004
Whether the poor pay more for food than other income groups is an important question in food price policy research. Stores serving low-income shoppers differ in important ways from stores that receive less of their revenues from Food Stamp redemptions. Stores with more revenues from Food Stamps are ...
FANRR-19-4, December 07, 2004
This report provides a summary of a comprehensive review and synthesis of published research on the impact of USDA's domestic food and nutrition assistance programs on participants' nutrition and health outcomes. The outcome measures reviewed include food expenditures, household nutrient availabilit...
AIB-792, November 04, 2004
Contrary to assumptions that fruits and vegetables are expensive, especially when purchased fresh, a consumer can meet daily recommendation of three servings of fruits and four servings of vegetables for 64 cents.
AIB-790, July 20, 2004
This analysis uses ACNielsen Homescan data on 1999 household food purchases from all types of retail outlets to estimate an annual retail price per pound and per serving for 69 forms of fruits and 85 forms of vegetables. Among the forms we priced, more than half were estimated to cost 25 cents or le...
EFAN-04004, May 13, 2004
Since the mid-1970s, the prevalence of obesity and overweight has increased dramatically in the United States. The prevalence of overweight has tripled among children and adolescents, and nearly two out of three adult Americans are either overweight or obese. Although high health, social, and econom...
WAOB-2004-1, February 09, 2004
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2013. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
WRS-04-03, February 02, 2004
Poultry meat is the fastest growing component of global meat demand, and India, the world's second largest developing country, is experiencing rapid growth in its poultry sector. In India, poultry sector growth is being driven by rising incomes and a rapidly expanding middle class, together with the...
AER-829, January 23, 2004
Population trends and rising incomes are expected to sustain growth in spending for food at full-service and fast food restaurants.
TB-1904, October 06, 2003
This report analyzes expenditures on major consumption categories including food and different food subcategories across 114 countries. It also presents estimated expenditure responsiveness or elasticities with price and income changes for each of the major consumption categories and food subcategor...
AER-825, September 23, 2003
Retail consolidation, technological change in production and marketing, and growing consumer demand have altered the traditional market relationships between producers, wholesalers, and retailers.
WAOB-2003-1, February 10, 2003
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2012. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AER-821, February 01, 2003
Over the next two decades, U.S. food expenditures will continue to rise. This study examines how projected food expenditures will be affected by demographic changes, population growth, increasing per capita income levels, and other factors.
WAOB-2002-1, February 21, 2002
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2011. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
TB-1896, August 24, 2001
This report expands aggregate lifecycle expenditure analysis by separating generational or cohort effects from aging effects. This is important since different generations or age groups may exhibit expenditure patterns that are the result of higher incomes and/or different tastes and preferences. Ig...
AIB-773, August 15, 2001
Average per-person total food expenditures, adjusted for inflation, declined about 7 percent between 1990 and 1998, from $2,189 to $2,037. This decline resulted primarily from the average at-home food expenditures per person declining by about 6 percent and the away-from-home food expenditures decli...
SB-972, June 06, 2001
Average yearly expenditures on food in urban households remained constant between 1997 and 1998. In 1998, the typical household spent $1,773 per person versus $1,767 the previous year. Of this amount, $1,094 was spent on food consumed at home and $679 on food consumed away from home. In 1997, slight...
WRS-01-1, May 30, 2001
Higher income, urbanization, other demographic shifts, improved transportation, and consumer perceptions regarding quality and safety are changing global food consumption patterns. Shifts in food consumption have led to increased trade and changes in the composition of world agricultural trade. Give...
WAOB-2001-1, February 22, 2001
This report provides long-run (10-year) baseline projections for the agricultural sector through 2010. Projections cover agricultural commodities, agricultural trade, and aggregate indicators of the sector, such as farm income and food prices.
AIB-758, August 31, 2000
Mergers, acquisitions, and internal growth among grocery retailers, largely since 1996, have increased the share of grocery store sales accounted for by the largest 4, 8, and 20 food retailers nationwide. Similar consolidation is occurring among food wholesalers. At the same time, new packaged and b...
AER-780, June 01, 1999
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SB-965, April 02, 1999
This annual bestseller presents historical data on food consumption, prices, and expenditures by commodity and commodity group, supply and use, prices, total expenditures, and U.S. income and population. Includes 29 charts dealing with food consumption trends, from changes in per capita consumption,...
TB-1872, February 01, 1999
The results of this study indicate that the Consumer Price Index (CPI) has not systematically overestimated or underestimated the food costs incurred by the general population. True-cost-of-food indexes calculated for the general population tend to be the same as or slightly lower then the CPI excep...
AIB-749, January 01, 1999
The increasing popularity of dining out over the past two decades has raised the proportion of nutrients obtained from away-from-home food sources. Between 1977 and 1995, home foods significantly improved their nutritional quality, more so than away-from-home foods, which typically contained more of...
AER-759, December 01, 1997
Low-income households may face higher food prices for three reasons: (1) on average, low-income households may spend less in supermarkets--which typically offer the lowest prices and greatest range of brands, package sizes, and quality choices; (2) low-income households are less likely to live in su...
TB-1862, June 01, 1997
ERS uses different economic models to estimate the impact of higher input prices on consumer food prices. This technical bulletin compares three ERS models. In the first two models (referred to as shortrun models), neither consumers nor food producers respond to market prices. In the third model (a ...

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