World Food Day: A look at international food spending and calorie availability

This bar chart shows the calorie availability and household spending on food at home as a share of consumption expenditure for different countries.

In observation of World Food Day on October 16, this Chart of Note highlights disparities in household spending on food across the globe. Countries vary in how much consumers spend on food at home as a share of consumption expenditure. (Consumption expenditure includes all household spending, but not savings.) In high-income countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, the shares of spending allocated to food at home are low because food cost is smaller relative to income and people eat out more often. In 2018, these two countries spent less than 10 percent of their consumption expenditure on food at home—food bought from supermarkets, supercenters, and other food stores. In Kenya and other low-income countries, at-home food’s share of consumption expenditure 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’ supplies of food available for people to eat. The data in this chart predate the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on food supply chains and food demand. This chart appears in the Food Prices and Spending section of the Economic Research Service’s web product, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials.

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