Food Dollar Series

The food dollar series measures annual expenditures by U.S. consumers on domestically produced food. This data series is composed of three primary series—the marketing bill series, the industry group series, and the primary factor series—that shed light on different aspects of the food supply chain. The three series show three different ways to split up the same food dollar. See:

A Revised and Expanded Food Dollar Series: A Better Understanding of Our Food Costs

All statistics reported in the dollar bill images represent a percentage of an average annual food dollar expenditure (see Glossary). The same statistics reported in total dollar denominations are available in downloadable tables (see Download the Data).

Data are available from 1993 to 2018 and are updated annually. The principal data source of the food dollar series is released every even-numbered year such as 2020 (see Inter-industry relationships (Input-Output matrix)). For interim (odd-numbered) years, preliminary estimates of all the nominal food dollar series are reported based on a secondary data source (see Industry Economic Accounts: Input-Output Accounts). On the following even-numbered year, the preliminary estimates are revised and one additional year of data is added (see Documentation).

Roughly every 5 years since 1997, a new benchmark data source has been published (see Industry Economic Accounts: Benchmark Input-Output Accounts) based on the U.S. Economic Census and U.S. Agricultural Census. With a new benchmark, all data in the food dollar series covering years since the previous benchmark undergo a final revision. For example, in 2014, the 2007 benchmark data were published, so all data from 1993 to 2013 in the food dollar series have been reconciled to benchmark data for the years 1997, 2002, and 2007. Beginning with the food dollar updates published in 2014, 16 additional commodity-specific tables have been added to the food dollar data series that report only benchmark-year statistics (see Commodity Tables in the Glossary). 

A 10-year review of the Food Dollar estimation program is underway.  Once completed there will be the potential for historical revisions in some of the current food dollar series.  Because of this, the previously planned incorporation of the 2012 benchmark data and historical revisions back to 2008 have been postponed.  In their place, the usual non-benchmark year principal data-source updates are provided (tables 1 to 6), which include revisions to many of the preliminary 2017 nominal data and new nominal data for 2018, plus new real (2009 prices) data for 2017 and 2018.

Errata: On March 23, 2020, the ERS data product, Food Dollar Series, was revised to correct estimates of real (2009 prices) data for the years 2016-18. The revision corrects data in both the interactive application and in the downloadable data files (Excel and csv). Only real (2009 prices) data for the years 2016-18 were affected; the nominal data series remains unchanged.

Last updated: Monday, March 23, 2020

For more information contact: Patrick Canning