Publications

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  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    The growing popularity of ready-to-eat packaged salad greens, introduced in the late 1980s, has contributed to the dramatic growth in the amount of romaine, leaf lettuce, and spinach available for consumption in the United States. Spinach availability rose 240 percent between 1985 and 2005, from 0.7 to 2.3 pounds per person. Romaine and leaf lettuce availability rose 269 percent from 3.3 to 12.1 pounds per person. While head (iceberg) lettuce is still the dominant salad green, its availability decreased 14 percent to 20.3 pounds per person between 1985 and 2005.

  • Data Feature: ERS Food Availability Data Look at Consumption in Three Ways

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    ERS calculates annual per capita amounts of foods and commodities available for consumption in the U.S. One time series is unadjusted for spoilage and other losses, and the other is adjusted for these losses. A third time series looks at the annual per capita availability of calories and 27 nutrients and dietary components.

  • On The Map

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    Most U.S. households can consistently afford enough food for active healthy living. But 11 to 12 percent of households struggled at times to put adequate food on the table in recent years. USDA classifies such households as food insecure.

  • Struggling To Feed the Family: What Does It Mean To Be Food Insecure?

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    Food security-consistent access to enough food for active healthy living-is strongly associated with income, but household circumstances and State-level policies and economic conditions also matter. Health problems are more prevalent among members of food-insecure households than among otherwise similar individuals living in food-secure households. Food security statistics provide reliable information on the hardships households face in meeting basic food needs.

  • Insidious Consumption: Surprising Factors That Influence What We Eat and How Much

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2007

    The prevalence of obesity and diet-related illnesses is rising, despite evidence that Americans are aware of the positive effects of a balanced diet and exercise. Standard tools of economics can only go so far in explaining these trends, but findings from behavioral economics can shed light on several factors which could help economists and policymakers better understand food choices.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    The total amount of fruit and vegetables (fresh and processed) available for consumption in the United States reached 690 pounds per person in 2005, up 113 pounds, or 20 percent, since 1970. In 2005, per capita availability stood at 275 pounds for fruit and 415 pounds for vegetables.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, May 01, 2007

    The prevalence of food insecurity—the lack of consistent access to adequate food for active, healthy living—in U.S. households declined in the late 1990s, then increased following the recession in 2001.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    From 1970 to 2005, the total amount of fruit (fresh and processed) available for consumption in the U.S. increased 14 percent, from 242 pounds per person to 275 pounds per person between 1969 and 2004.

  • Coffee Bean Price Changes Pass Through to Grocery Shelves

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    ERS analysis of coffee industry data found that changes in coffee bean costs are passed through to wholesale and retail coffee prices. Over the past 10 years, coffee bean prices have varied between 3 and 20 cents per ounce. A change in coffee bean prices that persists for several quarters will be fully incorporated into both wholesale and retail prices. A 10-percent change in coffee bean prices translates into about a 3-percent change in retail prices. Retail coffee prices were found to respond the same to both increases and decreases in coffee bean prices.

  • Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Dietary Recommendations

    Amber Waves, April 01, 2007

    If Americans were to consume the number of servings recommended in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, daily fruit consumption would need to increase by 132 percent, requiring U.S. producers to increase annual harvested fruit acreage from 3.5 million to 7.6 million. Daily vegetable consumption would need to rise by about 31 percent, and the mix of vegetables would need to change. Annual harvested acres of vegetables in the U.S. would need to increase from 6.5 million to 15.3 million.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, February 01, 2007

    Research area charts from the February 2007 issue of Amber Waves

  • Healthy Restaurant Destination? Just Think Twice

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    An ERS analysis of a 2002 consumer survey conducted by Rutgers University finds that respondents who were more willing to forgo other food attributes for convenience were about 8 percent more likely to dine out at least every few days. Respondents citing convenience as the main factor influencing their away-from-home food choices were 17 percent more likely to purchase fast food than were respondents who did not place a premium on convenience.

  • Data Feature

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    ERS has revised its market basket statistics to reflect current spending patterns for fresh produce. Based on new consumer and farm baskets, farm revenues accounted for 26.6 percent of consumer spending for fresh fruit at retail foodstores in 2004, and 23.5 percent for fresh vegetables.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the November 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Indicators

    Amber Waves, November 01, 2006

    Indicators tables from the November 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • Let's Eat Out: Americans Weigh Taste, Convenience, and Nutrition

    EIB-19, October 17, 2006

    Whether eating out or buying carry-out, Americans are consuming more and more of their calories from full-service and fast-food restaurant fare. The share of daily caloric intake from food purchased and/or eaten away from home increased from 18 percent to 32 percent between the late 1970s and the middle 1990s, and the away-from-home market grew to account for about half of total food expenditures in 2004, up from 34 percent in 1974. Analysis of a survey of U.S. consumers indicates that respondents want convenience and an enjoyable dining experience, but the desire for health also plays a role as does diet-health knowledge.

  • The Food Assistance Landscape: FY 2006 Midyear Report

    EIB-6-3, September 15, 2006

    USDA expenditures for its 15 food assistance programs totaled $27.7 billion during the first half of fiscal 2006 (October 2005-March 2006), a 7-percent increase over the first half of fiscal 2005. Five programs-the Food Stamp Program; the National School Lunch Program; the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); the School Breakfast Program; and the Child and Adult Care Food Program-accounted for 96 percent of USDA's total expenditures for food assistance. This report uses preliminary data from USDA's Food and Nutrition Service to examine trends in the programs at the midpoint of fiscal 2006. It also summarizes a number of ERS research reports on the Food Stamp Program released in recent years that may help inform discussions of the 2007 reauthorization of the farm bill.

  • Research Areas

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    Research area charts from the September 2006 issue of Amber Waves.

  • In The Long Run

    Amber Waves, September 01, 2006

    With incomes climbing at a faster rate than expenditures for food, Americans spent 9.9 percent of their disposable personal income on food in 2005, down from 23.4 percent in 1929. This decline is even more striking considering the labor and technology that go into the multitude of processed foods on today’s supermarket shelves.

  • Americans Switch From Fresh to Frozen Potatoes

    Amber Waves, June 01, 2006

    While potatoes have been a mainstay of the American diet for generations, how potatoes are eaten has changed dramatically. In 1960, Americans consumed a yearly average of 81 pounds of fresh potatoes and 7.6 pounds of frozen potatoes. In 2004, the average American consumed 46.5 pounds of fresh potatoes and 56.4 pounds of frozen potatoes, mainly french fries. Taste, convenience, technology, and the growing away-from-home market have all played a role.