Households constitute lion's share of U.S. food spending

A chart showing the share of U.S. food sales by source in 2011.

Spending by families and individuals on at-home and away-from-home food accounted for 79.1 percent of the $1.3 trillion in total U.S. food sales in 2011. In the decade prior to the 2007-09 recession, U.S. consumers’ share of total food sales averaged 82.7 percent. Food spending by U.S. consumers and local, State, and Federal governments fluctuate with economic conditions. During severe recessionary times, families’ share of food spending generally decreased, while government entities’ share grew due to increased outlays for assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the National School Lunch Program. Businesses’ share of total food sales has been relatively flat since the late 1960s, at just under 10 percent. The value of food grown by farmers and households for their own consumption has declined from its 1940 share of 17.4 percent. The statistics for this chart are from ERS’s Food Expenditure Series data product.

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