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Spotlight on Statistics

November 2010

BLS Spotlight on Statistics: Food for Thought

Audio Script

November and December provide opportunities for Americans to join together for many food-related activities. These gatherings may take place in the home or at an outside establishment.

Here are some BLS data that provide insight into the wonderful world of food:

  • In November and December 2009, 83 percent of Americans spent time eating and drinking while at home, 17 percent did so at a restaurant or bar, and 7 percent ate and drank while at someone else's home.
  • In 2009, consumers in the lowest income group spent the highest proportional amount of annual food expenditures on food at home, about 70 percent.
  • In 2009, consumers spent the largest portion of their weekly expenditures for meals away from home on dinner compared to lunch, breakfast and brunch, and snacks and nonalcoholic beverage purchases.
  • In October 2010, a basket of goods including meats, vegetables and fruits, dairy products, and other items varied in price. Uncooked steak cost $5.63 per pound and potato chips cost $4.77 per pound.

Here are some data about the food industry and food-related occupations:

  • Nationwide, there were about 28,000 food manufacturing establishments in 2009. This represents about 0.3 percent of the total number of establishments in the United States.
  • In 2009, earnings in food-related occupations were typically lower than the average for all occupations ($43,460). Chefs and head cooks and food service managers earned higher than the average.
  • Two food-related occupations, waiters and waitresses and food preparation workers, are projected to increase by 6.4 percent and 4.2 percent over the 2008-18 period, respectively.
  • In 2009, there were 72,800 food manufacturing-related injuries and 201,900 injuries reported in the food service and drinking places industry.

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