Perhaps you already know this, but America spends less on food than any other country in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spent $6,599 on food in 2012, which is around 13% of the average American’s budget. Compared to that, Italy and France spend almost twice as much. While this can sound promising and encouraging, there are at least two major disadvantages to take into consideration:
1. The quality of the food we consume. Although Americans spend less on food than anyone else in the world, they also eat more fast food and processed food than anyone else.
The Food Service Warehouse put together an interactive chart showing how many calories are consumed each day around the world. Although surprisingly Americans don’t consume that much more compared to most Europeans, the obesity rate is more than double, at 34% compared to 15% in Europe. While the United States still has the lead with an average of 3,770 calories per person per day, it is followed pretty close by most European countries, with Austria at 3,760 calories per day, Greece at 3,700, Italy at 3,660, and France at 3,550 calories per day. So why is the obesity rate so high? Surely, there are more reasons than one. First of all, Europeans exercise more than Americans, and second of all, not all calories are created equal. The fact that Italians and French people spend almost twice as much on food results in more expensive food, but food that is probably better tasting, healthier, more nutritious and diverse. And the fact that the food is more nutrient-dense gives them the energy to burn a lot of those calories in exercise and in being more active overall.
2. Spending less on food results in money wasted on other things. With so little cash going out on food, there is a tendency to waste money on other things and activities such as entertainment, unused gym memberships, useless gadgets, and so on. Plus, with the food being of such a poor quality, more and more is spent on health care, with over $140 billion in health care costs going to obesity each year.
So what would you prefer, spending less on food so that you can spend your money on other things or spending twice as much on food as you do now, but being able to enjoy fresh and nutritious food that leaves you feeling better and more energetic?