by Marion Nestle
Oct 13 2023

Weekend thinking: How much of your income do you spend for food?

The answer: it depends on how much money you have.

USDA’s Economic Research Service has just issued a chart on how much countries throughot the world spend on food on average as a percent of their total expenditures.

As a general rule:

As incomes rise with economic development and urbanization, the share of income spent on food tends to fall while discretionary spending on household goods, education, medical services, and recreation tends to increase.

Rich countries like ours spend less than 10% of our incomes on food—on average.

But Americans with lower incomes spend more than 30% on food.Th

This is why food assistance needs to include income assistance as a matter of policy, especially because people are having to spend more and more on food, even after adjusting for inflation.