USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) maintains an historical data series on national per capita supplies of over 200 food commodities available for domestic consumption. In 2018, the supply of fresh fruits available for Americans to eat, after adjusting for losses, totaled 58.3 pounds on a per capita basis. Citrus fruits accounted for 14 percent of this 2018 total, down from a 24-percent share in 1970, partly reflecting Americans’ expanded fresh fruit options. Loss-adjusted per capita availability of fresh citrus fruits fell to a low of 6.3 pounds in 2007 before trending upward to 8 pounds in 2018. Over 1970-2018, loss-adjusted per capita availability of fresh oranges and grapefruit declined, while availability of lemons, limes, and tangerines increased. The data in the ERS historical series predate the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and do not reflect its impacts on food supply chains and food demand.
ERS calculates national supplies of food commodities available for domestic consumption by adding domestic production, initial inventories, and imports of a particular commodity, such as oranges; then subtracting exports and end-of-year inventories. To calculate per capita estimates, these national supplies are divided by the U.S. population. For loss-adjusted availability, ERS applies commodity-specific loss rate estimates to account for some of the spoilage, plate waste, and other losses in food stores, restaurants, and households. Loss-adjusted food availability is designed to approximate consumption.
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