These days, people in the United States seem to think and talk a lot about food. Food shows are all over cable TV, food pictures populate social media and there’s always plenty of talk about the newest restaurant.
That’s all good. But something that seldom gets mentioned in these foodie conversations is the affordability of food in this country. It’s the best in the world, bar none.
According to an analysis by American Farm Bureau, the average American spent less than 5% of his or her disposable income on food in 2017. That’s substantially lower than other countries, both those in the developing world and in richer countries of Europe.
The higher percentage of spending makes sense in low-income countries. In Nigeria and Kenya, for example, people spend more than 50% of their income on food.
But citizens of high-income countries also spend more of their disposable income on food than Americans. It’s 5.7% in Germany, 6% in the United Kingdom and all the way up to 13% in Sweden.
Even though American consumers tend to take affordability for granted, it’s not magic. It takes extremely productive farmers who are using the latest technology to respond to changing and broadening consumer demand. It also requires an extremely efficient food processing and transportation system to get food in the store and on the table.
It’s a great combination that makes U.S. food consumers the envy of the world.