This paper explores the relationship be­tween food expenditures and consumption patterns and families' socioeconomic status in the Onited States. Three themes follow through the paper. One is that as income rises over time and across socioeconomic groups, a smaller percent of that income is spent of food. Simultaneously, a larger percent of the food dollar buys services and food preparation moves farther away from the home. Second, characteristics of people like age and ethnicity contribute to diversity in food con­sumption but labor force participation by women has led the trend in away-from-home-food preparation. New scientific information and technology have changed at­titudes about nutrition and food safety and their link­ages to health. Finally, the continuous introduction of affordable new foods into the diet and culture of families in all socioeconomic groups has been a quiet evolution. Trying to differentiate socioeconomic groups in the United States by their food and nutritional status is almost a nonstory except for fascinating intragroup diversities that change rapidly in the postmodern society. J. Nutr. 124: 1878S-1885S, 1994.


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