Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System
The ERS Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System (FADS) includes three distinct but related data series on food and nutrient availability for consumption. The data serve as proxies for actual consumption at the national level. Food availability data provide estimates through 2015 and serve as the foundation for the other two series. Loss-adjusted food availability data are also provided through 2015 for most products. This second series is considered preliminary because the underlying food loss assumptions and estimates require further improvement. Nutrient availability data are provided through 2010. Documentation is available for each of the three data series.
The 2015 data include estimates for over 200 commodities, including individual fruits, vegetables, grains, added sugars & sweeteners, dairy products, nuts, meat, poultry, and seafood. However, in 2011, the Census Bureau discontinued the Current Industrial Reports (CIR), which provided data for added fats & oils (except butter), durum flour, and candy & other confectionery products. As a result, the most recent year that data are available for these commodities is 2010.
Because of this data limitation, certain summary estimates—such as per capita daily amounts of calories, food pattern equivalents (or servings), and food loss at the retail and consumer levels in the United States—cannot be calculated beyond 2010. However, the lack of data on durum flour is not critical to the calculation of summary estimates because data are available for wheat flour, which includes durum flour. The lack of data on candy & other confectionary products also is not critical to the calculation of summary estimates because data are available for individual sugar and sweetener commodities (for example, cane and beet sugar and high-fructose corn syrup) within the candy & other confectionary products group.
Subsequent to the discontinuation of the CIR, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) developed the Current Agricultural Industrial Reports (CAIR) data series to collect data on specific manufactured products in key agricultural industries. As of October 1, 2015, the four sectors in the CAIR program are being published through four reports:
- Grain crushings and co-products production—the monthly data series begins in October 2014, and data were first released in February 2015;
- Cotton system consumption and stocks—the monthly data series begins in January 2015, and data were first released in May 2015;
- Flour milling products—the quarterly data series begins in the third quarter (July-September) of 2014, and data were first released in May 2015;
- Fats and oils: oilseed crushings, production, consumption and stocks—the monthly data series begins in May 2015, and data were first released in October 2015.
Relevant to FADS are the estimates of production and storage of products in the flour milling and fats & oils sectors. ERS anticipates incorporating these estimates into FADS in 2018.
ERS plans to update the food availability estimates as data for various commodities which form the basis of the estimates become available. The food availability data series for fruit is scheduled to be updated in the Fall of 2017, the vegetable data series in the Spring of 2018, and the remaining commodities in the Summer of 2018.