America's Changing Appetite: Food Consumption and Spending to 2020

America's appetite, like its population, is always changing. Foods once favored are now rarely eaten. Foods once only dreamed about are a reality. Dining out, once thought to be a luxury, is now common. The Nation's population is wealthier, older, more educated, and more ethnically diverse than in the past. And these demographic changes are likely to become more pronounced in the next 20 years. Consumers will continue to demand new food products, new packaging, more convenience, new delivery systems, and safer and more nutritious foods. Consequently, USDA's Economic Research Service (ERS) has undertaken an extensive effort to project how population growth, an aging population, ethnic diversity, other demographic trends, and income growth will affect future food choices and how the food system will respond to such changes. By 2020, the U.S. population will add between 50 and 80 million people-all becoming part of the food system. Based on an increase of 50 million food customers, U.S. food expenditures are projected to rise 26 percent between 2000 and 2020. With food spending already approaching $800 billion in 2001, the projected increase will boost food sales of supermarkets, restaurants, fast food outlets, and other retail food establishments by $208 billion. Increased food spending driven by population growth is just one way consumers will shape the future of the U.S. food system. Our research is also designed to understand how shifts in the demographic profile of the projected U.S. population in 2020 will affect what people will eat and how much they will spend, where people will eat, and what product characteristics will command the consumer's food dollar. These future food choices will have implications for the organizational structure of the food industry and for the economic wellbeing of farmers, food processors, retailers, and other participants in the food production and marketing system- our concept of "consumerdriven agriculture."

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Journal Article
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Food Review: The Magazine of Food Economics, Volume 25, Issue 1
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 Record created 2017-12-19, last modified 2018-04-02

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