No one is quite sure about what food labels mean. But still, they seem to alarm us:
Where are we going? To what we eat, what we waste, and what we spend.
What We Eat
Between 1970 and 2010, we changed what we eat.
During those 40 years, the proportion of meat, dairy, traditional sweeteners, fruits and vegetables in our diets slipped. At the same time, we upped our intake of chicken and cheese.
Below, you can see Pew’s summary of the shift:
Meanwhile though, if you are a baby boomer (and female), it is likely that you eat a healthier diet:
You consume more organics:
And this is what you avoid:
What We Waste
Meanwhile though, researchers have recently estimated that each of us, on average, wastes one pound of food a day. If accurate, that means we dump 25% of the food that we could be eating.
And that takes us to the fruits and vegetables we buy. Below, you can see that almost 40% of the food we waste is composed of fruit and vegetables:
Our Bottom Line: Consumption Expenditures
The Gross National Product–our GDP–has four components. Together they add up to the dollar value of the goods and services we produce each year.
- Gross Investment is mainly what businesses spend on equipment and construction but also includes residential housing and inventory changes.
- Government Spending is just what the name says. It ranges from submarines to the President’s salary.
- Consumption Expenditures includes the goods and services that you and I buy.
- Net Exports: This is the foreign trade part of the GDP.
Our consumption spending is close to 70% of the GDP. Within that total, we have our spending on food at home and away. And yes, we are eating more food away from home:
My sources and more: WSJ reminded me that it was time to return to expiration labels and The Washington Post took me to food waste. From there, this paper connected food waste, diet quality, and sustainability. And finally, it made sense to relate it all to the American diet and healthy eating.