The production and distribution of food is perhaps the most important single vertical segment of our national economy. More than one-fourth of our personal disposable income goes for food. On the other side of the picture, our farmers receive more than two-thirds of their income from sales of food commodities and perhaps a third of all retail trade is accounted for by sales of food. Substantial proportions of other types of economic activity, such as manufacturing and transportation, are concerned with food. In order to gain insight into the future prospects for the demand for food produced by our farms, processed by our factories, and distributed by our marketing system, we need an over-all perspective of the pattern of food marketing or utilization in recent years. This article, prepared under the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 (RMA, Title II), is based on a study undertaken to provide such an over-all picture by drawing on all available data.