Family food expenditures around the world

Mikey 108 comments
  • Life
Family food expenditures around the world

We all know how much money we spend on food each week, but what about families in other countries, particularly those less fortunate than us? This photo essay shows an interesting comparison. If anyone knows the photographer(s) responsible for these please let me know so I can place a credit with this article. Thanks to Peter at The Computer Whisperer for sending this our way.

Update: Thanks to Tobias for the tip. These photos are from the book "Hungry Planet: What the World Eats" by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio, and the samples below are from part 1.

Paleo1.jpg Paleo3.jpg

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide - 2 adults, 2 teenagers

Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
Food FamilyPaleo3.jpg

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina - 2 adults, 2 teenagers

Food expenditure for one week: $341.98
Food FamilyPaleo1.jpg

Japan: The Ukita family of Kodaira City - 2 adults, 2 teenagers

Food expenditure for one week: 37,699 Yen or $317.25
Food FamilyPaleo2.jpg

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily - 2 adults, 3 kids

Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11
Food FamilyPaleo1.jpg

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca - 2 adults, 3 kids

Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Food FamilyPaleo3.jpg

Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna - 4 adults, 1 teenager

Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Food FamilyPaleo2.jpg

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo - 7 adults, 5 kids

Food expendit ure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Food FamilyPaleo3.jpg

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo - 4 adults, 5 teenagers

Food expenditure for one week: $31.55
Food FamilyPaleo1.jpg

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village - 7 adults, 6 kids

Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Food FamilyPaleo2.jpg

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp - 3 adults, 3 kids

Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Food FamilyPaleo1.jpg



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Friday 11th April 2008 | 07:45 PM,29307,1626519_1373664,00.html

"food expenditure for one week" on Google

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Friday 11th April 2008 | 09:34 PM

that's powerful. $1.23 for a weeks food. we buy a can of soda for that much.

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Friday 11th April 2008 | 10:04 PM

the more money u make the rubbish you buy, take a look, the less you make you buy what you need...

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Friday 11th April 2008 | 10:24 PM

It's important to realize that the dollar amount doesn't really mean much. $20 in Haiti is a hell of a lot of money.

It would have been more valuable as a measurement of labor, such as hours per week.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 02:07 AM response to this comment by Dwindle. Actually, the Dollar amount looks like it has been calculated from the local cost of the food listed above the picture...

Whatever anyone says, it just goes to show what a waste of food, the vast majority of people in the world are used to.

I am not really that moved by stuff like this usually, but after having a birthday yesterday, and seeing these photos while munching on a chocolate B'day cake...well it makes you think...doesn't it???

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 02:08 AM

The German kid looks evil and eats the most. Scary

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-->blah -->

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 02:37 AM

Curious as to what the stuff those in Chad live on would cost in the U.S.A, still probably very little... but purchasing power parity damn you! Shop cheaply, get ham ends and bacon misshapes, get the stuff that goes off tomorrow, then you have more money for alcohol!

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 03:24 AM

Yep thats about right on with what I spend.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 03:25 AM

I just cant believe these 4 germans spend 350 Euros every week just for food. this is a amount of money the average german familiy couldnt afford. By the way they are probably alcoholics! they consume 20 bottles of beer plus 4 bottles of wine-unbelievable.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 03:48 AM

Andrew: "the more money u make the rubbish you buy, take a look, the less you make you buy what you need... "

The more money you make the less time you have to spend on making that rubbish your self. Check out that bottom one they are using the flour/grain to make bread with the bottle of water. Here in the USA we pay people to do that for use and they pay for the products we sell(I know hugely simplified).

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Ford Prefect

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 03:48 AM

Mrs Manzo is a MILF! :-)

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 04:41 AM response to this comment by Koiboy. Saying most people in the world waste food is a fallacy. Europeans and Americans are very well off but for the rest of the world minus a few countries hunger is very prevalent. Yes, people waste food but if they didn't that food would not be there for somebody who has no food.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 05:16 AM

It's interesting to see the ratio of fresh fruit and vegtables to junk in the various pictures.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 05:26 AM response to this comment by dierochade. That's a pretty ignorant comment... Consider the breakdown on that:
- 10 bottles of beer and 2 bottles of wine per adult per week

That's about a beer and a half and a glass a wine per adult per night and even less if you take into consideration that in Germany it's more prevalent for parents to allow their children to have a glass of wine with dinner.

Most American college students consume more than that on the weekends and the 2/3's of Americans that do drink, drink more than that in a week.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 05:53 AM

damn! those people spend too much on food per week! 300+ us is way too much if you shop smart!

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 06:58 AM

We don't all have widescreen monitors. I can't even SEE the amount spent by most of the families because it's obscured by the black Editorials column. Test your web design with all sorts of monitors.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 07:13 AM response to this comment by snapdragon. Thanks Snapdragon. This site is designed for a minimum screen res of 1024x768 (not a wide screen resolution by any stretch of the imagination), which suggests you must be among the 1.2% of people still using 800x600 (or the 0.3% using 640x480!). I dropped support for that screen resolution about 3 years ago when it was at 1.8%.,29307,1626519,00.html">Here's a link to another source but I'm afraid they don't cater for low resolution either but maybe you can position your browser so you can see it properly.

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 07:14 AM

I'd do Mrs Manzo, but I'd be thinking of the Polish teenager

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Cathy Lee

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 07:27 AM

Great stumble. I suddenly feel like sponsoring a foreign child.

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David Mackey

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 07:50 AM

Wow. Its a pretty cool series of photos.

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Jason the Pinko

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 08:05 AM

Incredible. I'm going to have to find this book now. . .

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 08:48 AM

I think that we should allso compare the average price tag for the food in the diferent countries, and the quality of the products. Normaly, if families have more money to spend on food, they will buy better quality products. Wine is a product that can have huge amounts of price variations.In my country (Portugal) we can buy one wine bottle for about 0.70€ (cheap low quality wine), but we usually buy bottles that cost about 3€ (medium quality table wine), and in some special ocasions we can buy quality wine that can cost's about 20€ or even more. But one thing is certain, USA people eat bad food, and we can see by the picture that the cooking abilities are very low (almost everything is fast food and "premade" food).

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 09:09 AM

Ok, I switched to 1024x768 res and now I can see the whole story, even though I need a magnifying glass to do it. ;) I'm sure that more than 1.2% of us are still using crappy antiquated government computer equipment.

That being said, this is a fascinating story.

Goncalo, I'm from the USA and I don't eat most of that crap. Not every American lives on fast food, and some of us can actually cook.

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The Movie Whore

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 11:13 AM response to this comment by Sassmo. Sassmo I got an interesting number for you. A few years back there was a study that showed that 4% of the nations beer is sold in Chico California. Chico is home to Chico State University. I grew up in Chico and can attest to the party atmosphere that led Chico to be considered the number 1 party school in America for several years. Thankfully the city has been spending years trying to down play this image but we still get plenty of kids coming to school here because of the stories they have heard about what iti is like to party at Chico State.

It really was quite sad when I heard this statistic because my honest reaction was "I am surprised it's not higher."

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 06:11 PM

hahah the german kids look like they are showing off to everyone that they eat the most and probably waste the most (since they're so skinny)

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Saturday 12th April 2008 | 07:06 PM

Purchasing power varies among nations. This purchasing power greatly affects the food consumption of people. The richer you are, the more food you can buy. The opposite is also true. No wonder malnutrition is a widespread problem not only among poor countries but to countries who are 'well-fed' than others. Americans, for the most part, are highly accustomed to 'fast food', from hamburgers to pizza to name a few.

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jesus! That's right jesus...

Saturday 12th April 2008 | 11:46 PM response to this comment by snapdragon. Get a new monitor cheap ass!

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 12:34 AM

Very interesting even if things are not really true, it gives an idea. It's obvious that everything is aproximative. How can the german familly eat all that in one week ? Or italians eating all this bread while having frosties for breakfast.

Food in chad is more expensive than what is told. A bag of rice (25kg) cost 25€ wich is nearly the same price as in europe, for lower quality rice.

Very interesting anyway to see what people are eating.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 03:03 AM response to this comment by dierochade. It's not as unbelievable as you may think.. Germans may have a very healthy view on alcohol, as supposed to the binge drinking many locals in USA, England or Norway(my country) do every weekend. A beer and a glass or two of wine every other day does not make you a alcoholic.

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G Butler

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 04:42 AM response to this comment by Gonçalo. No, Americans don't have time to cook. We're all working 70 hour work-weeks just to pay our mortgage. Don't buy the "Americans Are All Rich" lie.

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Dave R.

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 04:47 AM response to this comment by Sassmo. As it happens, the blue bottles of beer are alcohol-free wheat beers, which are great after sport: it's isotonic.

I've no idea how they managed to spend that much money on that little food. There are mostly brand-name products, but I'm guessing they got their meat and veg at the organic shop.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 05:08 AM response to this comment by The Movie Whore. I did a little math on this:

Americans consumed 7.4 Billion gallons of beer/year in 2005 (

4% of that is 296 million gallons

Chico State's total enrollment in 2007 was 17,034 (

A little math tells us that you claim that each Chico student drinks 47.6 gallons of beer every day.

If we increase to the entire population of Chico, California, that number reduces to 7.7 gallons per day, per person. Which means that each resident of Chico drinks slightly more than 82 beers a day. You HAVE to figure that's rough on the children.

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Laura Schofield

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 05:20 AM

I've done some research on what fuels the food prices in the US and put together a page detailing this. Its a piece of legislation called the Farm Bill and its currently up for renewal. Anyone interested in the rising cost of food in the US, as well as the nutritional content of most foods should have a look. This page is located at
Another page you may be interested in regarding grocery prices within the US (and Canada) is a listing I've compiled of all grocers in these 2 countries, located at It is interesting to note regional variances in products and pricing. A very interesting article.

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Television Spy

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 07:26 AM

This is from National Geographic.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 07:28 AM

The pictures say it all.
No need for $ calculations.
Just look at the crap on the american table in comparison to the rest.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 07:45 AM

It's old

Right now the Zloty to US Dollar ratio is 2,1 to 1

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 08:07 AM response to this comment by Ford Prefect. Too funny, I was thinking I'd hit that, too. :p

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 08:15 AM

I'm in the U.S. and my family diet consists of a lot more veggies, fruit, beans and grain products and a whole lot less pre-packaged junk food than what the Revis family eats!

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 08:25 AM

You must be in a minority group :-p

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 08:43 AM

I live in Canada and my grocery shop is approx $120CAD/week (approx $120US) for 2 adults and 1 kid. Key to saving money: Buy fruits, veggies, meat, pasta, bread, and spices. Skip the alcohol, pop, chips, candy, prepackaged potatoes, or anything else that's prepared and you can make from scratch. You'd be amazed on how much money you have left over.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 09:16 AM

Yes, this was featured on The Time magazine sometime back.......

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 09:26 AM

I am happy to report that 95% of the food shopping I do is in the produce section. I buy bulk rice, make lots of salads, and eat a little meat in sauces that I prepare at home. I am definitely in the minority here in the USA. Packaged food filled with preservatives, corn syrup, sodium benzoate, artificial color and flavoring is destroying the health of people everywhere. Eat food close to the source. I would eat right off the tree if I could. Nothing is better than fresh clean food.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 10:25 AM response to this comment by Dwindle. I agree.

Percent of income spent on food would have been more intresting.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 10:49 AM response to this comment by Gonçalo. If you look at that American family you can probably assume they are a lower middle class African-American family, not trying to be racist but statistically its very likely. My family eats more like the German family does, except we spend less, like $400 a week and we eat mostly organic food.

Anyway the point of the article isn't to show what an average family from a certain country eats, its how much they spend. Most of these pictures aren't an accurate representation of what the average American, German, etc. eat.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 11:26 AM response to this comment by Food4life. Very well said.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 11:52 AM

It also depends on the government's price control of certain foods. In Malaysia where I live, we have a little saying that goes something like, "one can never go hungry in Malaysia." Staple food is dirt cheap. Food items like rice and even chicken, among others, are subsidised by the government, while luxury items like imported chocolates, alcohol and the like are taxed. This means that even the lowest income families will have enough good food to eat.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 01:31 PM

It's not a matter of how much money you make, it's a matter of how industrialized your nation is.
The more industrialized and modernized a country becomes, the need for convenient shopping gets higher. An average American or Britain doesn't want to farm their own apples or tomatoes - they want to pick them up at the store, and in vast amounts. As a nation strives for tech, you're expected to do more work, since machines and technology can aid you to do so. That means other things (such as GOOD nutrition) take a back seat to our work. You're then forced to buy more and more processed items, as those are the majority of things available.
As you go down this list, each nation is less and less modernized. As a result, you see more organic homegrown products, more vegetables and less processed items. It's not hard to see that modernization is what causes it.
Just look at China now. They've surpassed the United States as the fattest nation on earth. Why? Industrialization. They're trying so desperately to surpass our economy that they sacrifice good nutrition in order to accomplish more work. Lets just reset the clock and go back to the 1800's shall we? :)

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Bub Jones

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 02:02 PM

Sure looks to me like the German Family has a MONTH's worth of food there. Yet, the that much food for the American family is completely plausible.

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Tony Mendoza

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 02:30 PM

What is most disgusting is the American diet...all processed, fating food....nothing nutritious and natural. And, you know most American households have a similar diet....that's why obesity rates are so high in the States.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 02:36 PM

I just think it is funny how many from other countries view america as wasteful and un healthy. And the picture just helps fuel that. I'm looking at this going.. They eat that many bags of chips in a week? Holy crap! Two pizzas??? What the heck, that much beer, coke, and juice? That's insane!!! I work 50 hour work weeks to afford what I have and my shopping is like.. Ooo.. i can get a bag of rice today.. and meat to dice up.. and 1 beer!!!

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 02:40 PM

As an observer looking at America from way down under in Australia, correct me if I am way off the mark here but a lot of middle class families work more than one job just t make ends meet. And if I was doing those sort of hours it wouldn't leave much time for cooking a real meals so it's not that surprising that fast food is a large portion of the diet.

Once again that is just my assessment from here and I might be way off the mark.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 03:48 PM

I'm from the USA here and the picture of the American families food is completely dependent on the family and area. Our food would look very much like the Germans except the beer would be orange juice, soda, and milk. Minority maybe, but just wanting people to know that isn't the norm by far with the people I associate with.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 07:12 PM

The Absolute Index
When you judge others according to your standards and in this instance, the Yankee dollar, all you’ll get is I, me, my. There are 3 realms by which we can measure human standards. The emotional, material and the intellectual. The 3 human minds or our mental states depending on the moment. For the material, you have to use an universal standard like, say, a chicken egg or some staple. As for the other two, forget it. The typical person has no idea as to how to gauge emotions and intellect. Those whose head is always lodged within their orifices would demand that some fruit-sounding phone be a standard measure of intellect or emotion whilst others would point to their beliefs in science or religion and so on it goes. The true measure of a human being is his absolute position relative to the Absolute Truth. And what is that? Truth is also known as Morality, Love, Joy, Compassion, Mercy ad infinitum. It’s who a person really, really is which is why most would not dare face themselves or others and that goes for 99.99% of the human population. A human is merely a tenant to his body. Not the owner who is Truth per se. When as the last time someone breathed for his body or made his heart beat in perfect rythm? Judgements are merely for emotional, material or intellectual “fun & games”. They have no real value because Reality cannot be valued. It is who you really, really, are.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 07:23 PM

I knew the disparity was bad - but I had no idea it was this bad -

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 08:43 PM response to this comment by dierochade. It's Germany...they like their alcohol. I think in France it's something like 22% of people's income goes towards wine.

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Sunday 13th April 2008 | 10:04 PM

India would have been interesting to see.

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Lloyd Deane

Sunday 13th April 2008 | 10:10 PM

More Complicated Than Just Dollars Looking at just dollars doesn't indicate anything other than the cost of inputs in each area. To gain more meaningful insights they should have added measures like calories purchased per $, ratio of protein-carbohydrates-fat, life expectancy, etc. Interesting the American obsession with money, as if it's the only indicator of everything.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 02:26 AM

So are the Germans hungover? They look miserable.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 02:56 AM response to this comment by andrew. Oh really? Well, no shit! Of course your gonna buy more junk food if you have more money. What are you fucking stupid? Yeah, and the sky is blue buddy.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 03:11 AM

Is a matter of changing cooking habits.
If all adults participate in cooking, there is time to cook even in America!!!

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 07:34 AM

the polish girl gave me a raunchi bonner

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Peter Santonix

Monday 14th April 2008 | 10:40 AM response to this comment by Victor. Oh. It sounds like you have been watching lots of American television--> all Germans are evil people crap. The kid does not look evil. Your mind has been poisoned.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 11:07 AM

The dollar figures are irrevelant. It goes from those with excess food to those starving. How lucky we are to have so many food choices.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 11:31 AM response to this comment by Johsuha. I maintain a organic vege and herb garden in the city with about 10 minutes a day of effort (averaged out). I can still maintain a professional career and lifestyle. Ironically this is about the time I'd spend shopping for the same amount of goods, including the time getting to the shops. I also order my other groceries off the internet. So yeah... back to the 1800s you say?

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 01:19 PM

LOL at all the Coke. Mexico takes the cake though.

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 01:56 PM


In India it varies from place to place. In Bombay I spend I spend $60 a week for a family of 2 adults. Food includes good quality veggies, meat, milk and milk products and fruits. If I lived in small town that is closer to the countryside in South India, I'd probably have spent half of this. The cost of packaging and distribution adds up if you are in big cities

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Japanese Ice Cream

Monday 14th April 2008 | 03:34 PM

Great photos. I remember reading and seeing these photos last year or the year before. Still interesting even if its not new .

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Monday 14th April 2008 | 04:37 PM

I spend, on average, about 30 bucks a week on groceries. My roommates spend even less than that on their food. The American family pictured above could not possibly consume over $300 dollars worth of food per week. Look at all that juice. There's probably 5 different kinds of sugary fruit flavored water. Do they really eat 2 whole pizzas a week! I might get a pizza once every 3 months. I don't even see any vegetables. Oh, wait. They have a couple bunches of grapes. That must be their average intake of non-processed foods, or organic material for that matter. Don't people eat fruits and veggies? And look at all the Burger King and red meat! Yuck! Out of all the families pictured, there's is the least appetizing...well, besides the people in Chad. I know a buck sounds like nothing, but in Chad it's probably worth a lot. You couldn't even buy half that much food for under a buck in America.

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Tuesday 15th April 2008 | 06:02 AM

It is sad that that is probably an accurate diet for most Americans. My family of three spends far less than that and I shop at highend supermarkets (Harris Teeter/Whole Foods). Maybe if they chopped out some of that fast food and ate some veggies like the rest of the world...

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Tuesday 15th April 2008 | 08:52 AM response to this comment by Jarrah. This is a good slide show, but the pictures are not equivalent to each other, i bet the family from Chad are some of the poorest of that country and the ones from Germany are a better than average(incomewise) family. Im from Mexico and I can tell you that in order to spend $189.09 USD you have to be doing very good I'll say a poor family in Mexico equivalent to the one in Chad probably lives on $10.00 USD.

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William J.

Tuesday 15th April 2008 | 09:44 AM

I have been saying for years, as a grocer, that foodstuffs are not made for the consumer... Their are enough preservatives in the pop, beer, chip oils, etc. to kill a small animal... you eat shit.. For the convenience of the manufacturer it is loaded with poisons to keep it on the shelf for two (2) years...
Europe has fines in place for manufacturers and importers of food goods with preservatives... Why do you think Auntie and Grandma died of CANCER...?
All things ROT, and anything that doesn't, is not good for you.... Heston passed this last week... His best movie was about what Americans eat as a staple... : "Soylent Green"

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Hans Strongo

Wednesday 16th April 2008 | 03:59 AM

Oh my goodness, how shocking... Taking into consideration of course that the American family is buying all brand name products, fast food, and other things is the reason the costs are so high. And the fact that in [insert random third world sinkhole] it costs only pocket change... well, take a look at what they're eating.

Americans are overweight because we have lots of food available and don't exercise enough. Food is expensive because companies know people are going to buy it. Thus we get more money money spent on food and more food bought, leading to larger girth. Those people who can feed their families on a dollar... yeah, that's called Nourishment, we have infomercials that encourage sending money to those people.

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Wednesday 16th April 2008 | 12:54 PM

The Ecuadorians look the happiest....

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Another commentator

Wednesday 16th April 2008 | 09:57 PM

Just the give you another perspective on the German family from a German girl:
Although frinking alcohol (esp. beer and wine) once in awhile is much more common here, I wouldn't consider drinking 20 bottles of beer and 4 bottles of wine per week as usual. Additionally I'd say that the brands they buy (alcohol as well as the other groceries) are above average priced.
Nevertheless, one should also consider how often people eat at home and how often they don't.
In Gemany school ends normally around 1 p.m., which means that a lot of kids come home for lunch. On top of that some parents eat lunch at home as well.
So that makes roughly 3 meals per day per person in Germany compared to maybe 2 in the US if parents as well as their kids aren't at home for lunch.
Same accounts for the other nations as well.

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Wednesday 16th April 2008 | 10:30 PM

I would prefer to see the statistic on percentage of income because I believe that Americans still pay "less" with regard to how much they make on food than anywhere else.

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Thursday 17th April 2008 | 05:40 PM

I wonder how much of a correlation there is between television watched, and money spent on food. One thing we know for sure: Your health dosn't have too much to do with how much you spend, unless you have so little to spend you starve.

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Friday 18th April 2008 | 09:52 PM

Wow, i just realised that the people with less generally look happier than the people with more.

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Saturday 19th April 2008 | 09:44 PM response to this comment by andrew. Andrew, what a stupid bloody comment, they don't buy "just what the need" for the week, they buy "just what they can afford" for the week, families in countries like that are literally starving and undernourished. The cost of living is practically nothing and they still cannot afford a decent meal!

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Sunday 20th April 2008 | 12:08 PM

A decent meal?
Could eat to the full in many places is very lucky!!

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Mordechai Welt

Monday 21st April 2008 | 02:45 AM

I'd be curious to know what is the life expectancy of the average man and woman in each country, relative to the monthly food expenditure.

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Britney-Free News

Tuesday 22nd April 2008 | 09:32 PM

Wow. Certainly eye-opening...

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Thursday 24th April 2008 | 06:07 AM response to this comment by Gonçalo. As an American woman in her late 30's who knows how t0 cook (and does so very well, thank you kindly), I posit that it is erroneous to conclude that all Americans cannot cook because most of us rely very heavily on pre-packaged food.

If I use pre-packaged foods, I can prepare and serve a meal within a few minutes. If I use whole ingredients and make the meal from "scratch," it can take hours. Quite frankly, I don't have time to spend hours in meal preparation unless it's for a holiday or a special occasion.

Depending upon the ingredients, it is also frequently less expensive to use pre-packaged foods or to buy take-out (take-away) at a promotional price than it is to purchase and prepare a meal using whole ingredients.

Unless they're at the helm of a multi-million dollar media franchise about entertaining, "green" living, parenting, home renovation, etc., those Americans whose lifestyles afford them the time to cook home-made meals using whole ingredients are often accused of "not living up to their potential" and told to get off their backsides, find a "real" job, and go earn some money.

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American-Egyptian in Cairo

Saturday 26th April 2008 | 08:08 PM

The interesting thing to look at is the percentage of your income that goes to food. The monthly salary for a government employee in Egypt is about 200 EGP. Even in a dual-income household, that's about 400 EGP--about $70 per month--just a little more than this family spends on food each week. Not only that, but the price of food in Egypt has gone up nearly 25% in the past year!
Egyptians devote all of their incomes (plus some!) to food, while Americans spend a much smaller percentage of their income on their food (which is not to say they spend a smaller percentage of their incomes--debt is much more common and established in the US). Because of this, price sensitivity is huge, and while the impact that current economic instabilities in the US have had on the daily lives of the average American has been quite small, over here in Cairo it has had a noticeable effect on people's meal selections and availability of food for sale.

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Thursday 8th May 2008 | 01:54 AM

2 adults, 3 kids...
our income is 80,000 / yr and we only spend $150-$200/ week for food and i think we totally over spend! i can't imagine spending $300. week on food! maybe the american family is from california?

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Thursday 8th May 2008 | 01:55 AM response to this comment by mel . sorry, i see that they are from NC

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Monday 19th May 2008 | 02:12 AM response to this comment by American-Egyptian in Cairo. except there's 7 adults in that family.... assuming at least 5 of them are working - makes the calculations come out a bit differently.

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Monday 19th May 2008 | 12:14 PM

Incredible how the smiles become grander as we scroll.

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Tuesday 20th May 2008 | 12:14 AM

Bloody greeat photo's, but didnt see an average australian family thou........
My usual family shopping spend is $250 a wk for my family of five oops six now that is with toddler necessities... what about every1 else?

mandy xo

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Sofia-Athens Greece

Thursday 22nd May 2008 | 07:25 PM

People who have less money, prefer more fruits and vegetables to their daily meals, in contrast with European and American countries who are more wealthy, however they consume plastic food and less vegetables!

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Joshua James

Sunday 1st June 2008 | 05:42 AM

We (the US) are gluttonous pigs! The rising cost of transportation is pushing more and more towards local farming markets - not organic food! Although, the quality of the local farms is, in many cases, surpassing that of the official 'organic' label. Jus sayin!

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john calabria

Sunday 1st June 2008 | 11:55 PM

Would have liked to see the American Vegan diet represented. I eat very well on
much less $ than the average american.... just say no to all the packaged foods.
bad for your health, and your wallet.

The Yoga mantra for living on less: Om I have enough ahum



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Wednesday 25th June 2008 | 04:43 PM

wow, so incredible how much money they spend in germany just for food

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Tuesday 1st July 2008 | 11:48 AM

The more industrialized or debt ridden the country is or more precisely the more debt ridden the people are, the more you spend on cheap, wrapped in plastic preservative laden food. We are so busy paying for big screen TVs and Idop (I dope- laughter abounds I made a funny) phones, cars we can't afford, that we in Canada and the US eat crappy foods as a result. We don't have the time to spend preparing the foods from scratch - we have to pay down the massive credit card bills to pay for the big scream TV.
So we work and work and work. My friends in Africa eat simple wholesome foods and are better off for it. The down side is the medical system doesn't really work for them. They have problems with the food as well. The less developed the country, the more wholesome the food is - BUT quality or the lack of control of what contaminants are in the food goes unchecked - or until someone dies.
Europe on the other hand is just plain expensive to live in. Check out fuel and the price of beer in the countries in question and you have a good indicator of the cost that people in that country endure. Beer in Malawi (in an sit down nice bar) is 0.73 cents CND/USD

Very interesting picture essay - Thanks very much for putting it on the web..

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st July 2008 | 12:39 PM response to this comment by Barclan7. ... and the coldest. Surprising, considering their locale, dahling.

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Gina Squitieri

Tuesday 1st July 2008 | 12:54 PM

Okay, so they have a mountain in Ecuador and it gets cold there -- silly me.

This is an interesting find:

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British Guy

Monday 21st July 2008 | 05:48 AM

The amount of food is not relevant to development either. I live in Cornwall, UK and eat food similar to the German's

..albeit reduced by a factor of oh, 10?

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Foreigner in Berlin

Thursday 21st August 2008 | 11:49 PM

For all Americans who are wondering if the germans are alcoholics or not -
In Germany people might seem to drink a lot but they know how to drink it and how to handle themselves UNLIKE a lot of people from America/UK etc... its very visible when u walk the street here @ night... the only people who are heavily drunk are usually americans or british people who just dont know how to handle their booze! most germans on the other hand on some occasions might even drink much much more but would usually not get "wasted"!

Also, a 379EUR per month is A LOT but possible, depends on the quality of food one buys and in Germany many people are into organic products,fruits & veggies!

As for the germans not smiling - Germans never smile unless they tell them to - they are mindless gray robots and resemble the japanese way more than europeans!

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"Cow" BOY

Sunday 8th February 2009 | 06:32 PM

I think that photo for the Revis family of the U.S. is a bit fake. I mean, the only vegetables that I was able to see was two tomatoes and their only fruit is like, two bunches of grapes. They sure do have alot of junk foods and stuff from fast food restaurants, and BTW, I wonder where they get all their vitamins and nutrients from all that crap. Notice that none of them are "fat".

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mother of a spaz

Friday 17th April 2009 | 07:57 AM

I have 2 kids and a husband, I spend half that amount in one week on food. How does that work? I spend around $200- $250 every 2 weeks on food. That's meats fruits and veggies for the whole family in not talking caned and frozen. That's also including some junk food; such as sodas chips and very little candy for the kids. I buy a lot of name brand things as well. I don't understand how a family can afford to spend $1200 a month on just food. That's my house and car payment. No wonder why so many people are losing their homes, they fork out a house payment a month just on food. My kids or the rest of us don't go hungry or any where close to hungry. My 4 year old is on the chunky side. Food is not cheap either $5 for a gallon of milk $2 for a loaf of cheap bread. Maybe if we step back and look how we are spending that much money on a weeks worth of food we can solve two problems the home issues and overweight adults and children.

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Tuesday 1st September 2009 | 07:58 AM

I have two kids and a husband that sound just about righ, we spend about $250-$300 the frist week of the month and after that about $175 - $200 weekly but we do not eat out only once a week. It comes out to what you are eating.

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Tuesday 22nd September 2009 | 12:01 PM response to this comment by Josh. so what is your point? your family spends more for food like the German family? or you're saying you don't eat like the "black" family? your post doesn't really make sense considering the amount of money the German family spends.

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Sunday 13th June 2010 | 11:49 PM

the developed countries do eat a lot but not a healthy food and u missed out so many other countries australia india newzeland france the arab countries, but great pics

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Saturday 16th October 2010 | 08:27 PM

I think it is good to see a site like this. It really puts your mind into perspective and makes you stop and think. I wonder where my family would sit.

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Friday 14th January 2011 | 08:38 PM

Looks like we will all be living like the Aboubakar family soon

From Russia’s disaster: (10% of total World’s output, 20% for export) they were hit by the highest recorded temperatures Russia has seen in 130 years of recordkeeping; the most widespread drought in more than three decades; and massive wildfires that have stretched across seven regions, including Moscow.

From France’s disaster: The French government lowered their wheat crop forecast by 2.7% over last year due to drought and cold weather.

From Canada’s disaster: Record setting drought has affected their main grain producing provinces in the Western part of their Nation.

From Ukraine’s disaster: (the World's top producer of barley and sixth biggest of wheat) hit as hard as Russia by fire and drought to the point they have halted all their exports of grains in 2011.

From Australia’s disaster: Fears of a Global wheat shortage have risen after the Queensland area of Australia was hit by calamitous flooding. Andrew Fraser, Queensland's State Treasurer, described the floods as a “disaster of biblical proportions”. Water is covering land the size of France and Germany. It is expected to reach over 30 feet deep in some areas in coming days.

From Pakistan’s disaster: Floods have submerged 17 million acres of Pakistan's most fertile crop land, have killed 200,000 herd of livestock and have washed away massive amounts of grain and left farmers unable to meet the fall deadline for planting new seeds, which implies a massive loss of food production in 2011, and potential long term food shortages.

Not only have the vast majority of our World’s top wheat producers been affected, but also one of the main grain producing regions on the Planet, South America, has been hit by disasters too where an historic drought has crippled Argentina and Bolivia, and Brazil, that regions largest Nation, has been hit with catastrophic floods that have killed nearly 400 people in the past few days alone.

Even the United States has been hit as a catastrophic winter has seen 49 of their 50 States covered by snow causing unprecedented damage to their crops in Florida due to freezing weather, and record setting rains destroying massive numbers of crops in their most important growing region of California.

And if you think that things couldn’t get any worse you couldn’t be more mistaken as South Korea (one of the most important meat exporters in Asia) has just this past week had to destroy millions of farm animals after an outbreak of the dreaded foot-and-mouth disease was discovered.

To how horrific the Global food situation will become this year was made even more grim this past month when the United States reported that nearly all of their honey bee and bumblebee populations have died out, and when coupled with the “mysterious” die-off of the entire bat population in America means that the two main pollinators of fruit and vegetable plants will no longer be able to do their jobs leading to crop losses this report warns will be “biblical and catastrophic”.

Chillingly to note is that after meeting with Sarkozy, Obama began implementing his Nation’s strategy for keeping the truth of this dire events from reaching the American people by ordering all US citizens to have an Internet ID so that they can be tracked and jailed should they begin telling the truth.

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Friday 15th April 2011 | 02:48 AM

waka flocka flame rules!

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ben fraser

Tuesday 24th May 2011 | 04:27 PM


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Tuesday 16th August 2011 | 02:29 PM response to this comment by dierochade. Actually, all the taller bottles are mineral water.

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Wednesday 17th August 2011 | 09:35 AM response to this comment by G. The next disaster would be a mandatory inference on data course for all.

It would be great for me to see dolts learn a bit about stats. It would be a disaster for most as calculators wouldn't be allowed in the exam.

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