U.S. Supplies of Vegetables Available to Eat in 2019 Down Slightly From 2000, But Variety Has Grown

The Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods chosen from across and within food groups. The vegetables food group is composed of five subgroups: dark green, red and orange, starchy, other vegetables, and legumes (beans and peas). Each offers an array of important vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Data from the USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS) reveal that Americans are slowly expanding the variety of vegetables on their plates. From 2000 to 2019, dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables (excluding tomatoes), and legumes increased their combined share of the vegetables available to eat in the United States from 16 percent to 22 percent.

ERS’s Food Availability (Per Capita) Data System provides annual estimates for more than 200 food commodities of the amount available per capita for consumption in the United States. ERS calculates national supplies of food commodities available for domestic consumption by adding domestic production, initial inventories, and imports of a particular commodity, and then subtracting exports and end-of-year inventories. To calculate per capita estimates, these national supplies are divided by the U.S. population.

Over the last two decades, the total amount of vegetables available decreased by 4 percent from 417.4 pounds per capita to 400.1 pounds, rebounding from a low of 369.6 pounds in 2015. ERS’s food availability data for vegetables include fresh, frozen, canned and dried forms, all measured in fresh-weight equivalents. Some vegetable subgroups have increased in popularity, while others have seen declines.

To read the rest of the story, please go to: USDA’s Amber Waves