Changing Food Consumption Patterns: Their Effect on the U.S. Food System, 1972-92

Americans are changing the way they eat and the foods they buy. New lifestyles, shifting demographics, and growing concerns about nutrition and health contribute to these changes. In response to American consumers, the food system may be shifting from volume production for general consumer markets to marketing and production for specialized markets. These changes have not influenced all parts of the food system equally, according to ERS researchers who examined how changes in food demand affect the food system's output in different sectors for 1972-92. Within the food system, real output grew during 1972-92 for the processed food sectors and eating and drinking places (table 1). The poultry and egg processing sector showed the largest percentage growth, 269 percent (from $6,472 million in 1972 to $23,865 million in 1992), followed by confectionery, bakery, and macaroni, 85 percent (from $23,252 million to $43,118 million). Output for the meat packing sector grew the least, 11 percent (from $56,340 million to $62,440 million) over the period and refined sugar sector output declined 26 percent (from $8,010 million in 1972 to $5,909 million in 1992). Overall, the total real output of processed food sectors rose 40 percent (from $243 billion in 1972 to $342 billion). The nonfood processing sectors in the food system grew strongly. Output in transportation rose 82 percent from $182 billion in 1972 to $332 billion in 1992. Output for wholesale and retail trade grew 86 percent, from $496 billion to $926 billion. Output for the eating and drinking sector grew 83 percent, from $114 billion to $210 billion.

Issue Date:
Jan 01 1999
Publication Type:
Journal Article
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Published in:
Food Review/ National Food Review, 22, 1
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 Record created 2017-12-19, last modified 2020-10-28

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