What are the most popular foods? It’s an interesting question and since I’m a fan of data and charts, I got excited when I stumbled across the USDA Economic Research Service’s Food Availability data. It looks at the types and amounts of food that is available in the U.S. and thus, identifies consumer demand. Here’s what we know:
• Americans’ diets do not align with the federal recommendations that come out of the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines. When looking at diets in 2017, Americans are eating more than the recommended amount of meat, eggs, nuts, and grains. However, we are desperately falling short in the consumption of vegetables, dairy, and fruit. Look to the USDA MyPlate to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, and aim to get 3 cups of dairy each day.
• 2019 data identifies potatoes and tomatoes as the top two vegetables most available per person in the U.S. Most of the available potatoes were frozen and most of the available tomatoes were canned, which shows our love for French fries and pizza sauce, the most consumed components of these vegetables. Don’t depend on just a couple of fruits and vegetables; a variety helps you gain the range of nutrients your body needs.
• Apples and oranges were the top two fruits most available per person in 2018 with bananas coming in third. Interestingly, more than half the availability of apples and oranges are in the form of juice. While juice does provide us with some important vitamins, it’s also more concentrated and thus has more sugar compared to eating the whole fruit. By eating the whole fruit, we get less sugar and more dietary fiber.