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. This new and expanded food dollar series provides an improved overview of the food system, with more accurate and informative estimates of the farm share and the distribution of food-dollar value-added shares over time. (See Marketing Bill FAQs.)

Marketing bill statistics for food commodities have been published annually since the 1940s by USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS). The Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 mandated that USDA measure the costs of marketing U.S. agricultural commodities. Due to measurement problems, the discontinuation of several underlying data sources, and increased interest in evolving supply-chain relationships, ERS has replaced the marketing bill series with the new food dollar series. The food dollar series uses input-output analysis to calculate the food dollar and its components for the years 1993 to 2017. The series is updated annually.

Input-output analysis generates food dollar estimates (and food-and-beverage dollar estimates) for three expenditure categories—total expenditures, at-home expenditures, and away-from-home expenditures. For each expenditure category, three primary dollar series are generated:

  1. The marketing bill series measures the food dollar share accruing to farmers from the sale of raw food inputs (the farm share), with the remainder accruing to food supply chain industries involved in all post-farm activities that culminate in final market food dollar sales (the marketing bill).
  2. Because the market value of all food dollar expenditures equals the value added by all food dollar supply chain industries, the industry group value-added series divides the food dollar into total value added for 12 industry groups: agribusiness; farm production; food processing; packaging; transportation services; energy; wholesale trade; retail trade; foodservices; finance and insurance; advertising; and legal and accounting services.
  3. The primary factor series divides the food dollar into the value contributions of four primary production factor groups—salary and benefits, property income, output taxes, and imports. Then a cross-tabulation table divides the food dollar into the primary factor returns for each industry group. All estimates are reported in both nominal (current price) and real (inflation adjusted) dollars.