Sunday, December 5, 2010

How much food does the average American person eat?

Now that Thanksgiving, our favorite food related holiday has come and gone, you might be interested to know how much the average American person eats on a regular basis.  

To calculate a conservative estimate of how much food an average American eats, let’s assume that a person eats 3 meals a day, 365 days/year, and that each meals is about 1 pound of food.  Using these conservative, round numbers, the average American would eat about 1095 pounds of food  a  year not including snacks between the 3 main meals.

Other estimates are not as conservative, and range from about 1,500-1,900 pounds of food per person per year!  The website, states that “the average American is 36.6 years old and eats 1,996.3 lbs. of food per year.”  Is it any wonder that I can hear my parents' voices in my head now..."don't waste food", "there are other starving people in the world", "be grateful for your food". breaks down the food consumed into the categories listed below.  These statistics are interesting and staggering at the same time because certain foods such as meats and dairy are more resource and energy intensive to produce, and result in more green house gases compared to fruits and vegetables.  To see their colorful, informative graphic, check out their site 

  • 85.5 lbs. of fats and oils
  • 110 lbs. of red meat (62.4 lbs. of  beef and 46.5 lbs. of pork)
  • 73.6 lbs. of poultry, (including 60.4 lbs. of chicken
  • 16.1 lbs. of fish and shellfish
  • 32.7 lbs. of eggs
  • 31.4 lbs. of cheese
  • 273.2 lbs. of fruit 
  • 600.5 lbs. of non-cheese dairy products (including181 lbs. of milk)
  • 192.3 lbs. of flour and cereal products (including 134.1 lbs. of wheat flour)
  • 141.6 lbs. of caloric sweeteners (including 42 lbs. of corn syrup)
  • 415.4 lbs. of vegetables (including 56 lbs. of corn)
  • 24 lbs. of coffee, cocoa and nuts
Another interesting perspective on the amount of food we eat, and the human footprint that we leave on the planet can be see on the show, "Human Footprint" on National Geographic, Monday, Dec 6, at 9am  If you don't get a chance to watch it, you can also check out their interactive link, and find out your human footprint, or how much of the world you use in your lifetime. You can calculate how much you will consume and see how that measures up with the rest of the world.

Sources:, December 5, 2010

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