Friday, October 3, 2008

Spending on non-food items

Implementation of a food storage program can be severly limited by the perception that the family food budget will not allow any additional purchases. This reticence is based on a lack of awareness of the amount spent on food as opposed to the amount spent on non-food consumption items. The three non-food items that take up a surprising amount of home food budget money are coffee, alcohol and tobacco products.

According to in 1999 there were 108,000,000 coffee consumers in the United States spending an approximated 9.2 billion dollars in the retail sector and 8.7 billion dollars in the foodservice sector every year (Specialty Coffee Association of America 1999 Market Report). Coffee drinkers spent an average $164.71 per year on coffee. By 2002, the total retail figure had risen to $10.74 billion with a propotionate rise in the average per capita cost of consumption.

See and

Based on the USDA figures for average weekly food costs on the Thrifty Plan, two adults spend $79.60 a week on food. So the average American couple spends more than two week's worth of food money for coffee each year.

As I have mentioned before, figures giving accurate per capita spending in the United States for alcohol and tobacco products is very difficult to find. One statistic shows that the per capita consumption of alcohol in the U.S. was 2.18 gallons. Considering the number of children and non-drinkers, the real average has to be considerably higher. I can find how much you spend on okra faster and more completely than any statistics on alcohol consumption or spending. Whatever is spent, it is too much.

In addition, over 60% of the U.S. population is (according to government definitions) either overweight of obese.


The conclusion is that Americans spend too much on food, too much on alcohol and too much on tobacco products. The reduction or elimination of any of the non-food categories of spending would more than finance a food storage plan.

No comments: